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Loving Discourse Lessens Discord

June 12th, 2018

Communication enables mutual understanding.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6

My thoughts and comments today consider that, “loving discourse lessens discord.”   

Kind and sincere communication is a gift that we give to one another. Communication connects and unifies people. I love a simple, beautiful verse: “Grace is poured upon Your lips.” Psalm 45:2 NKJV. What would your life and relationships look like if grace poured from your lips? Loving discourse lessens discord. In contrast, our world is so torn because individuals persist in being right, however high the price is paid in their dearest relationships. Whether in a marriage, family, friendship, or church, the relationship is left the victim when loving communication breaks down.

Sadly and widely, both public and private discourse seem course today, evidencing less and less grace. Why do we choose dispute over concurrence? Conversations are essential for social interactions and profitable commerce. Communication enables effective collaboration to bring about mutually beneficial understandings. The interaction that communication requires is not optional. Sincere and meaningful communication offers significant benefits such as: proper discourse unifies people, decides purpose, defines progress, and produces greater achievements. Real community is possible only to the extent or limitation of real discussions.

Language is a gift, possessing the power to unite or divide us. A wise person considers their words. Words have potential for good or ill, can help or hurt, heal or wound, increase understanding or create confusion. Your words are always within your authority to speak or remain silent. Speak after forethought and prayerful reflection. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge.” Proverbs 15:1-2 NIV.

With clarity and authority, Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Read Matthew 12:35-37 NKJV. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.” Read Proverbs 4:20-24 NIV. Ask yourself, “Are my words honestly intended, edifying to others, and glorifying to God.”

With King David, we should pray from our heart that our words and thoughts would be these, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 NIV. And how can we keep our words and thoughts pleasing in the sight of God and others? Pray as David prayed, “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3 NIV.

Today I pray for you to choose your words to always be both true and kind.

Christian Communications 2018

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The Power of Language

January 17th, 2018

Words mediate differences or exacerbate disagreements.

 “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Colossians 4:6 NIV

My thoughts and comments today are about,
“the power of language.”

Language is vital for communication and coordination of common efforts. Without communication, many efforts would be futile, achievements minimal, relationships challenging, and misunderstandings numerous. We don’t think much about words, but we certainly use a lot of them. According to Google, a 2013 University of California study concluded that women speak an average of 20,000 words daily, compared to 7,000 words for men. Wisely, I resist endorsing an opinion on that statistic. Imagine what a more current study might include that included texting, Facebook posts, and other social media.

I would note that it matters what you say, and how you say it, more than how much you say. Verbiage and volume are not as important as veracity. Imagine the difficulty of our daily interactions without them, or a conversation when you could not understand another’s words because of language differences. Communication is important. Communication that edifies is essential.

Since you were very small you have been learning and using words while expanding your vocabulary. It is important that you consider the awesome, and sometimes awful, power of the words you speak and the potential effect they have on yourself and others for help or harm. “Words kill; words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” Proverbs 18:21 MSG.

With words, you can heal a heart, or wound one. Words mediate differences or exacerbate disagreementsWords speak truth, or spread lies. Words can build friendships, or destroy trust between friends. Words can encourage or dishearten. Words can applaud others or criticize. What you may not realize is that when your words wound someone, your misuse also hurts you in ways you will not at first recognize. Choose them wisely. Speak them kindly.

As a child, I learned a simple rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But that isn’t really true, is it? Many of us bear the lasting imprint of words spoken long ago, whether for good or harm. Some are spoken by us; some were spoken to us. Uncharitable words can leave a hurt far deeper and remaining longer in the heart, but also in the one who speaks them. Careless words cheapen communication and lessen the creative power of your words for good at other times.

God’s feelings about this are clear. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.This should not be!” Read James 3:1-11 NIV. God views your words very seriously because He knows their power and potential for good or evil, for benefit or harm. God warns, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. . . men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” Read Matthew 12:33-37 NIV.

Remember that with just a word God created all that we now see and know, and sustains all that He created in the same way. “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Hebrews 11:3 NIV. You and I certainly do not possess God’s creative power, but as you are made in His image, your words are much more than mere sounds spoken and forgotten. Your words hold seeds of life and blessing, carrying a greater, spiritual dynamic well beyond mere language.

Paul warned that God weighs your words. The gravity of that will cause you to pray, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord.” Psalm 19:14 NKJV. Whatever your heart privately harbors will ultimately be exposed through your words. Here is practical, Godly advice. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to consider the power and potential of your words, for better or worse.

Christian Communications 2018-107
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Life-giving Words

June 2nd, 2014

“The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life.” John 6:33 NIV.

Wise is the one who realizes when enough has been said.

My thoughts and comments today are about “life-giving words.”

All of Creation began with a simple word. “God said, ‘Let there be . .  and there was . .“ See Genesis 1:1-3 NIV. “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which were seen were not made of things which are visible . . In the beginning the Word already existed . . without Him nothing was made that was made.” Hebrews 11:3/John 1:1-3 NKJV.

Words are powerful. Words inspire great achievements. Words communicate much more than information. Words touch more deeply than the mind. Words penetrate deeper and endure longer. Words generate powerful emotions and actions. Using the example of a ship and its rudder, he wrote, “A tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong. So also is the tongue . .” James 3:4-5 NLT. “We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way.” James 3:2 NLT.

James wrestled with the complexity of words for good or bad, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” James 3:9-10 NIV. With words, love is expressed; promises are made; hearts are healed; friends are restored, comfort is offered; but also, truth can be compromised; hearts are broken; misinformation is shared; accusations are made; blame is given; friendships are fractured; misunderstandings happen; wars are started. Words can enhearten or dishearten, affirm or accuse, and heal or wound.

Use your words well and wisely, but speak them always with truth and grace. ”Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17 NKJV. See Psalm 55:21 NKJV. There is a time and place for truth or grace, usually best with both. Knowing the difference requires wisdom and sensitivity. Jesus voiced grace and understanding to sinners, but spoke straightforward truth to the self-righteous. Let this be your example: “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” Psalm 6:63 NIV. Jesus’ words are life-giving. Let yours be life-giving as well. See Proverbs 16:23-24 NLT/Romans 14:19 NIV.

The Bible provides wise advice: “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Colossians 4:6 NKJV. When I read Paul’s words, I see my Mom in her kitchen cooking. As she cooked, she would occasionally taste what she was preparing, savoring it momentarily and then adding what was lacking in the slightest measure. She tasted her cooking before she served her family or guests. That’s a good practice with your words. Wise is the one who realizes that sometimes, before much or anything is said, enough has been said. See Proverbs 17:28 NLT.

Here’s the practical, definitive answer: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O God, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that your conversation honors God and edifies others.

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