An incident occurred yesterday that brought up some feelings that I have not felt in a loooooooooooong time. I wanted to cuss someone out and tell them to go as far South as possible, Hell! EVERYTHING in me wanted to give the person a piece of my mind and “set them straight.” My last nerve was snapped in half and my patience jumped out the window! I was beyond annoyed and fed up with their shenanigans. Before I typed a response that would have made the person reconsider their existence, I took a step back and asked myself “how will my response testify or nullify my proclamation of being a Christian?” Sure I would have been just in using my American “French” words, but it would have completely destroyed my witness as a Believer. Considering the fact people quickly forget the good when you do one thing wrong, I could not afford the luxury of “letting them have it.” Instead I had to walk away from my phone, calm down, and then share my thoughts. I used regular English instead of expletives, and there was no need to apologize for anything I texted. I conveyed every thought and my integrity was upheld. #winning
This morning when I woke up and reflected on the events from yesterday, Colossians 4:6 came to mind. It says “ Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” Knowing I overcame the temptation to cuss someone out made me smile. I chose to be gracious in my approach, and it worked out well. I did not allow my words to start a fire that an apology could not put out. I left their self-esteem in tact, and I pleased God with the way I handled His creation.
In a world that promotes the worst interaction among people, we “Christians” are called to be different. We are called to:
- “Love your neighbor as yourself…” (Mark 12:31) This love requires we make every attempt not to be rude, malicious. or spiteful in our interactions with others. It encourages us to talk to others the way we would want someone to talk to us.
- “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”( Colossians 4:5,6) What we say and how we say it can either be a witness or reproach. Attraction includes language choices.
- “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (Ephesians 4:29) As people daily being perfected into Christ’s image, there is often a selfish desire to “speak our minds” in a way that is not uplifting to others. We justify the way we speak to others with phrases like “I’m grown I say what I want” or “I’m just being real,” but being Christian trumps our adulthood and that kind of “realness.” Sure we can say what we want; but when we yield our lives to the Lordship of Christ this includes our tongues. We should strive to not allow our words to get in the way of our witnessing.
- “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:16) Initially I thought this scripture may be taken out of context, then I considered the fact “a gentle answer turns away wrath.” (Proverbs 15:1) A gracious response when you would prefer to cut someone with your words is a good deed indeed. It also baffles the person that was expecting a mean response and ultimately brings glory to God.
As I consider the satisfaction of not giving in to the temptation of tearing someone down, I cannot pretend as if I have always made the right decision. I used to cuss and enjoyed leaving people speechless at my snide, rude, and malicious responses. Then I came across Colossians 4:5,6 and I could no longer justify my behavior. I had to acknowledge that accepting Salvation also meant accepting the responsibility of watching my mouth. Am I perfect? No! Will I get it right next time? I sure hope so! Is there a point to all of this? Yes!
The point is this: As Christians, any time we encounter people it is an opportunity to either direct or deter them away from God. Even in our moments of being angry justly, we should strive to find the best thing to say in the situation. I am not suggesting you do not express yourself; but I am suggesting that when you do, make sure people conclude you belong to God and not his arch nemesis. This is not written as a call to be perfect but as an encouragement to consider the thought: ” what are my words daily testifying about me to others?” If you mess up, be quick to apologize and strive to do better next time around. Praying we resist the temptation(s) that will come after reading this. Have an awesome day BEAUTIFUL people and remember Love Lives Free!!!