The Apostle Paul reminds us in Colossians 4:6 "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."
I have to admit that there have been times I've struggled with this one. In fact, many times. Once, as I was reviewing my sermons for the previous few months, I noticed that many of them were quite negative in tone. The more I read through my sermon notes the more convicted I became. The next Sunday I began my message by apologizing to the congregation for the negativity that had been in my sermons for the previous months.
Many people come to church having been beaten up by life all week. They don't need to come to church only to have the pastor hammer them as well. As I shared that morning, I can say anything I need to say in a positive manner as well as in a negative one. I was committed from that time forward to eliminate the negativity from my sermons. I would not compromise the Gospel in any way, but I would also not beat up my listeners anymore either.
Writing this blog presents many opportunities to rant about some issue that is especially troublesome. Although I have written the occasional rant, I've tried to do so as graciously as possible. Believe me, there was much more I wanted to say in some of those rants! I tried my best to edit out the negativity and voice my concerns in a more positive and gracious way.
Yesterday, a friend of mine posted something on Facebook. I agreed with him, but another of his friends attacked his post. I responded in a very sarcastic manner, published my response, and was immediately convicted. I instantly deleted my post.
We seem to live in a world of crudeness. We have lost the ability to be civil with one another. People on social media say the most disgusting and cruel things to each other. If you read a news item online the comments that follow are often crude and ugly. Rather than commenting on the article these comments are more often than not personal attacks on the persons mentioned in the article. Unfortunately, Christians are included among those who resort to personal attacks and rude comments towards those who disagree with them.
Political events result in arrests as mobs run wild. Road rage incidents continue to escalate. Just yesterday the news reported that a car purposefully ran over a motorcycle injuring both riders after words were exchanged at a stop light.
We cannot control the actions of others nor can we control what they say and write. But, we can control our own speech. Maybe if each of us takes personal responsibility for our speech we can begin to restore some civility to this nation once again. Let's make sure our speech is always full of grace.