Monday, June 18, 2012

Beautiful Speech

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

     One of the hardest challenges in life is using kind Speech. Loving Speech is too often pushed aside to make room for a humorous comment, a witty jab or a quick retort. We look for ways to build ourselves up with our Speech by tearing others down. Our Speech could become the means of spreading Christ’s love.
     What does Biblical Speech entail in the first place? Let’s check out the Bible; in Colossians 4:6 we are told that to let our “conversation always be full of Grace, seasoned with salt.” Biblically Speech should be used to build each other up, to show each other grace.
   Why should we use kind words? In Proverbs 16:24 we are told that “pleasant words are like a honeycomb; sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." When our speech is kind, we have the ability to serve others, build them up and to show them God’s love. Another verse along these lines is 1 Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” Insulting words, even in jest, are not what we are called to do. Repaying insult with blessing is one of the hardest things in life, but God promises to bless that.
     But what is the big deal? A jab isn’t going to kill anyone. What comes out of our mouth shows what is in our hearts, Matthew 12:34 says “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” When we use unkind speech (or any method of communication for that matter, e-mail, social networking, texting, etc.) it shows something in our hearts that shouldn’t be there. Another reason to avoid unkind speech is that “the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” (James 3:5) What James is saying (as he explains all through James 3:1-12) is that the tongue is so powerful that not only is it a symptom of what is in your heart, but it is a factor as well.
     Sarcasm is frequently a method of building ourselves up by tearing others down. A quick definition of sarcasm; Sarcasm is a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter jibe or taunt, usually using understatement or irony. Sarcasm is usually used when a person says something not entirely thought out, or just isn’t paying attention. The sin in sarcasm isn’t the pointing out of the other’s mistake, but the method of doing so. Sarcasm is actually a form of Satire, which Christ used many times in his parables, showing that the attitude of the communication is as important as, if not more important than, the content.
     Regardless of the method of communication our speech should edify the body and glorify Christ at all times. I dislike the spin frequently put on the quote by St. Francis of Assisi; “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” People frequently use this as an excuse to keep from preaching the Gospel. They will hide behind their ‘actions’ with other sayings such as ‘actions speak louder than words’, actions may speak louder than words, but they don not speak as clearly. We (as Christians) do not have the option to be doers only, we must be speakers as well.

Leaping Lizard

Image by Leaping Lizard


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