Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bite Your Tongue

It's probably no good getting on my soapbox on Christmas Eve, because it's just such a seemingly Grinch-y thing to do. But it's frustrating enough for me not to at least complain somewhere, somehow, and it has a good point to it, and I hope it's not hypocritical.

To be honest, I can't stand how people can't take a break from being negative, even today or probably tomorrow. I especially can't stand them starting a sentence out referencing Christmas, only to turn to some statement that is not edifying at all and serves no purpose. Several Facebook acquaintances had to publish extremely hyperbolic statements concerning the new (highly watered down from the previous version) healthcare decision, and respond to every comment afterwards to argue or be defensive. Another (Christian) felt the need to point out that Jesus wasn't actually born on December 25th and that we're idiots for not changing the calendar. To what? His real birthday? Let me know when that is, please. I'd love to have insight into the past the way you do.

Forgive my cynicism, but it just grinds my gears that no one can take a break from being negative and whiny. However, it bothers me more that this all irritates me in particular because it's Christmas. Why should I be more frustrated now about people not using their speech to edify rather than tear down to no useful end? Shouldn't that always frustrate me?

That's the lesson I'm learning here: our tongues are such powerful weapons. We don't even have to say something directly mean; we could say something perfectly logical, our opinion on a given issue, but little factors make it detrimental. If you know it will incite anger in others, reconsider saying it. If you want to bring attention to yourself, reconsider saying it. These things shine through the actual words we say, no matter how seemingly innocent they are.

These words I would speak especially to my fellow followers of Christ; I would never hold anyone else so accountable for their words, because they have no reason to worry about it. But the bible is not silent about reigning in our speech and using it only to build up others and magnify the Father. And I charge myself just as much as I charge any other on this matter, because I am the worst of perpetrators when it comes to speaking before thinking.

Does this mean avoiding discussing politics so as not to foster division? You bet.
Does this mean mulling carefully over the very way I phrase things so as not to give the wrong idea? Yes.
Does this mean keeping my comments about other people's intelligence to myself? Absolutely.

These are all things that I struggle with and that I notice other people do too. For the sake of glorifying our God, may we abide by His desires for the way we use language to serve His purposes, and distinguish ourselves from the way the world uses speech. Paul says it best in Ephesians 4:1:

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received."

I can't think of a better verse to take to heart as a new year is quickly approaching. And now, I will say no more, and wish you all a very merry Christmas! I pray your time with family and friends is wonderful and that you would be blessed many times over. Eat yourself silly and watch A Christmas Story too many times. :) Much love!

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