Respect dare series – day 39 – Christianese

Psalm 4:2b-5

How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah. But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah. Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.

I need to ban Christianese from my relationship with Glenn! There are times when we use “Christian language” as an excuse to be mean to each other, or to win an argument. Saying something like: “Why don’t you go and pray about it!” certainly isn’t a nice way to end an argument. And phrases like: “I don’t have grace/patience for this today” is an excuse to put off godliness in preference for selfishness. Such words do not honour God. They are vain and unloving.

Instead, when we are angry, tired, grumpy, frustrated, hurt, etc we are to call to the Lord, seek Him silently alone, and listen. He is our help in trying circumstances, and tiring seasons. He strengthens us to choose the path of righteousness. We have been freed from sin and have come into such beautiful freedom to walk uprightly, but it remains a choice that we must make every day. Not allowing ourselves to use glossy, but selfish, words is part of the choice.

My action for today: Watch my words. Seek God first when angry, tired, grumpy, frustrated, hurt, etc. Do not use pretty words as an excuse to be selfish, impatient, or mean.

My prayer for today:  Father, we walk in your freedom. Thank you for releasing us from captivity to sin. Let us not continue in sin, and especially do not let us use our faith to gloss over our sins. Encourage us forward in love, truth, and grace for each other, our family, and those around us. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Watch our words!

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Respect dare series – day 3 – A curbed tongue

Proverbs 10:19-21

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.

Proverbs 10:31

The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off.

Proverbs 12:18

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Words have power. Are you a listening and kind-hearted wife? Do you weigh your words carefully and prayerfully when your husband shares on an important matter? What about when he brings a critique of you? Are you able to honestly weigh his words in your heart to see if you need to modify your behaviour, or do you lash back at him with a fault of his?

I must admit that I struggle with this. I’m impulsive. I tend to react rather than pause, consider and then respond. I grew up with two brothers and learnt to defend myself with smart and fast words. I’m also proud and dislike being wrong, which leads me to be argumentative with Glenn. I also like “discussions” aka arguing to win Glenn to my opinion!

My action for today: Pause, Shannon. Stop being hasty. Open your mouth only in wisdom. Open your mouth to speak healing words. Be a balm for Glenn’s spirit.

Don’t put on a front of hurt, either. Be still before God. Seek the root of your reaction. Spend time praying. Then go back and talk with Glenn lovingly. Accept fault if that’s the case. Be quick to apologise.

My prayer for today: Father, help me to listen. Still the rush of words from my mouth. Stop the need to dispute. Let the words of my mouth bring about the fruits of the Spirit. Let my words bring healing and be spoken in gentleness. Let me be patient, and willing to listen in order to hear. Work in my heart so that the fruit of my tongue is righteousness, truth, and love. Amen.

Listen to understand

Sphere of Communication; 1 of 3

This is a sphere that holds particular interest for me! One of the main reasons that drove me to complete the School of Biblical Studies in 2009 was that I wanted to know what was in the Word so that I could be more confident that I was conveying God’s truth through my writing.

I am sure that most of us would agree that our words reveal our much about our thoughts, and that our words are important. I think many Christians would also believe that our communication should convey truth. But what else can we glean from Scripture about communication? Quite a lot! Here’s a start:

What gems can be found in Scripture about how should we go about communication?

Note: Remember as we go that the sphere of communication is like that of arts and entertainment; it is weaved throughout Scripture rather than having passages where it can be seen to hold centre-stage.

1)      The Power of Words

Right from the start, we can see that words have power; God created the world through the power of His Word:

  • And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)
  • And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” (Genesis 1:6)
  • And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:9)

We have seen above that God’s words have power and that they can create, but what about ours? A great deal is said in the Bible about the tongue and how powerful our words can be. We see that the communication can be used to build up, or to break down, and that we are called to speak words of life:

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (James 3:5-10)

Proverbs, of course, speaks a great deal of the tongue and is a great place to start a study in to the power of words:

  • The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. (Prov 10:20)
  • The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off. (Prov 10:31)
  • There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Prov 12:18)
  • Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. (Prov 12:19)
  • The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. (Prov 15:2)
  • A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. (Prov 15:4)

Application:

In what situation do you find it hard to speak, write, or otherwise communicate in love? With what person or people do you find it hard to speak words of life and encouragement? Who do you find difficult to build up?

Now for the hard part, what is one small step that you can take to modify your communication with them? How will you actively reign in your tongue? Perhaps you need to think of something you appreciate in them and keep this in mind as you talk. Or maybe you can spend some time considering their strengths and then share them one by one with the person over the course of a week.