Wanted: Love and Grace

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person  ~Colossians 4:6.

Have you ever met someone who prides herself on speaking her mind? I think that phrase alone says a lot: The person who speaks what’s on his mind regardless of how it makes others feel is a proud person. I expect that she doesn’t realize that she sometimes does things that irritates others and yet they show grace to her. Why is it so difficult to bear with “stupid” people?

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ  ~Ephesians 4:15.

A lack of love is another reason some are quick to cut down others. Especially on social media, it is easy to subtly address faceless beings who can’t have feelings and so something they do or say is picked apart by another individual who has no patience with them.

I would like to submit that this kind of behavior is not boldness; many times, it is simply arrogance. By pointing out someone else’s fault (whether you name him or her or not), you are deflecting away from your own faults.

Facebook is the only social media that I am a part of, and I too see things that others say and do that I wouldn’t, but it is their page. They can do what they like on their page. I can participate or not. If I were truly burdened about it, I would send them a private message. If it’s not a burden, why not let it go?

We live in a world where many do not like confrontation. But passive aggressiveness? That’s a different story. Let’s make sure that the things we say and type are encouraging and helpful. There are times when people or situations need to be addressed, but it needs to be done with love and grace.

truthinlove

Bridle Your Tongue

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6).

Gracious speech is something that many struggle with and something that I strive to attain. It is true that you cannot take words back after you’ve said them. How many words are said in anger and then regretted for the rest of one’s life?

“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26).

This verse tells just how important controlling the tongue really is. It’s easy to think we are right with God but, if we don’t control our tongue, James tells us our religion is worthless. This can be shown by temper, cussing, anything that is the opposite of self-control.

“If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body (James 3:2).

We all know that there is no such thing as a perfect person and yet Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:48, “Be ye, therefore, perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” If we are to strive for perfection, we must strive to control our tongue.

“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 3:6-10).

Wow. There is a lot in these verses. I encourage you to meditate on these but don’t come away with the conclusion that, “See? It’s hopeless.” The call goes out to challenge you to control your tongue so that God is honored in everything you do.

contollingTongue

When I was in school, I learned how two-faced people can be, especially girls. They would tell you they like you one minute and then turn on you the next. I expect some of that came from insecurity but it was deceit, and I hated it.

Unfortunately, I sometimes see this in adults too. Instead of using words to build up others, we may be nice to a person’s face but then we stab them in the back, killing them with our words. They may or may not ever find out but the damage is done just the same.

What are the primary things that come out of your mouth? Gossip? Slander? Profanity? Curses? Tearing down others?

Or are you speaking words of life, blessing, encouragement, and joy to everyone you encounter? You are the only one who can control your tongue. Or maybe I should say the Holy Spirit in you is able to control your tongue, but you have to let Him. Sometimes you may have to literally bite your tongue to keep from reacting the way you usually would but do that if it helps.

Today can be a new day. When you find yourself going back into old habits, get on your knees, ask God’s forgiveness, and start anew. Do that 50 times a day if you have to. But don’t give up. God can give you a new, uplifting vocabulary if you want it. Won’t you start incorporating that today?

Here I Stand…

I want to make something clear. I am a born again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. This means I believe I was born a sinner and that my actions put me at war with God. Because of that, God will judge me for my sins and condemn me to Hell. Yet, in His mercy, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live the perfect life I could not live and to die the death I deserve. Jesus rose from the grave three days later, giving me a promise of eternal life. By turning from my sin and trusting in Jesus, He takes on my sins and I receive His perfect righteousness. I have been granted eternal life and will one day be with Him forever in Heaven.

As a Christian, I believe that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God. That means it is the direct revelation of God to man. This means I believe everything it says. Everything. When it says something is a sin, it’s a sin. What culture says about it today is irrelevant. No matter how we try re-work or re-word what God has already said, His truth remains. I will not bend, I will not yield, I will stand. I will proclaim God’s word, all of it. I may be called arrogant. I may be called ignorant. I may even be called a hateful bigot. But no matter what the world thinks of me, I care more of how I am viewed by my Savior than by anyone else. Jesus paid my fine with His life’s blood. I owe Him nothing less than my total love and obedience.

Because I trust in Christ for my salvation, and because I believe God’s word is true, I will proclaim to the world that it is in sin against God. I will proclaim that through Christ and Christ alone is their salvation. I will do this because I love people far too much to leave them in the delusion that they are “OK” with God. I love them enough to warn them of the judgment that is coming. I love them enough to risk being hated by them, and even have them turn against me. If I am willing to risk my life to save a drowning man, or a child trapped in a fire, how much more must I be willing to risk my standing in people’s minds to try and rescue them from the fires of Hell. It matters not if a blind man does not believe in the cliff he is walking toward. Thus, I cannot and will not stop my warnings because people do not believe as I do. I love them too much to stop.

I make this declaration today because I believe the world is beginning to openly war against Jesus Christ and those who follow Him. I make this stand today to make it known I will stand for Him no matter how tough the opposition may be, and no matter what it may cost me personally. I declare this to let you all know that I believe the greatest love I can possibly show is to point to the way of salvation, not to allow people to remain comfortable in their sins.

In the words of the Reformation preacher Martin Luther, “Here I stand. I can do no more.”