I have been reading on facebook, because it’s a slow, bitterly cold Saturday afternoon. We are actually under a blizzard warning. I haven’t seen a flake yet but then again it’s dark outside. I meant to run this morning when it was nice, warm and sunny. But I remembered I had been invited to a friend’s for a jewelry party. I changed my mind on the run because I don’t often get to see this friend and I thought she was more important than a run. And I knew I could run this afternoon before the blizzard hit. I did run this afternoon. I did run before the blizzard hit. I did not run before someone turned on the air conditioner outside. It was 30 degrees F, but felt like 18 (I think! I would ask Mr. FullCup but he’s teaching math at the moment and I’m afraid if I interrupt he’ll make me teach math). Now that’s cold.
One of my facebook friends posted a verse from Colossians and every time I scroll past I say in my mind, Ephesians 4:29, “Let no unwholesome talk proceed out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (niv) Which if you’re paying attention, and I know you are, you will notice that what my mind said was not at all the verse she posted.
I am, however, convinced that God intended for me to mistake one for the other. So often it is our words that get us into trouble. Both the words we speak and the tone with which we speak them. The difficult thing about writing either on a blog or on facebook (or even in a real book with real paper pages!) is it cuts out the non-verbal part of communication.
Communicating is not just the words we speak, it is also our mannerisms while we speak them. But we all know that. But do we all know that even using “safe” words to communicate can be unwholesome?
That is what I’ve been pondering this afternoon. If I say something that is rife with hidden agendas, if I use words to belittle someone but the words themselves are not belittling, I am letting unwholesome talk come out of my mouth.
In other words, if we find ourselves saying, “But I only said xyz…” or “That is not what I said. I am not responsible for how you took the words I used”, we need to stop deluding ourselves that we are innocent in what we speak.
Good words can bring about good things. But good words spoken with wrong motives equals unwholesome talk.
I think I need to invest in duct tape and keep a strip over my mouth. Or maybe I’ll just pray for Jesus to keep His hand over my mouth.