February 8, 2011 by Stacy McDonald
The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool shall swallow him up…(Ecclesiastes 10:12)
I wrote Smoking Keyboards and Razor Mouthed Christians after a long period of conviction and trial. My “personality” is to be bold and direct with little thought to who I may offend. For many years, my natural inclination was to “speak the truth,” defining love only by how boldly I spoke; rather than how much grace my words contained. My attitude was often, “I’m ‘standing up for the truth;’ it’s your problem if you can’t take it.” Have you ever done that?
This often made my words “sounding brass” (1 Corinthians 13:1) and actually kept people from hearing what I was actually trying to say – regardless of whether or not it was right. Some of this was immaturity; some of it was pride.
Do you speak the truth in love? Or do you simply speak what you believe to be true, and then define that as love?
However, God in His mercy, brought me through a painful trial that helped me to see my own sin. He showed me that the goal of all my communications must be saturated in a genuine desire to glorify God AND love my neighbor. We can’t have one without the other. The two goals are interconnected, and if we try to separate them, the result is always sin.(1 John 4:20-21)
If our primary purpose is to truly see God glorified, and to see the hearer come to repentance and glorify God as well, then we will be careful to make sure that our own attitude, pride, and “right-ness” doesn’t keep others from seeing the Truth we claim we’re defending.
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:23–26)
If we indeed want to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and His righteousness, we will emulate Him (Psalm 145:8-9). We will be attacked without being offended; we will be misunderstood without becoming sarcastic; we will be falsely accused without retaliating; we will love without being loved in return. Who can do this? No one. Only Jesus in us. (1 John 4:4-8)
I fail at this every day.
Oh Lord, help me to reflect your love. Let me decrease, so that you might increase. Help me to speak the truth boldly and without compromise…and in love…without pride. Help me to remember just how small I am compared to You – how helpless I am without You. Help me to extend mercy by comparing myself to Your holiness, rather than to the sins of those around me. And help me to grant them the same grace and mercy I hope to receive from You (Matthew 7:2).
If you’ve been guilty of this, you are not alone. But God is rich in mercy and able to forgive. Let us stand boldly for the Truth, compromising nothing; but, let every word we speak, write, or type be conveyed in grace, seasoned with salt, and drenched in genuine humility.
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works… (Hebrews 10:19–24)