It seems as though everybody is giving somebody a piece of their mind. From the freeways to the airwaves, anger, frustration and ugly words seem to flow. The latest rounds of ugly talk feature Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo, Bill O’Reilly and Rosie, Rosie and Trump, etc. Do you see the pattern? This week Imus, the radio host, is in trouble for ugly words he spoke about the Rutgers girls basketball team.
Don’t you wish the ungodly pagans of this world were the only ones displaying this kind of ugliness? Unfortunately, the practice too often makes its way into the church and Christian relationships. Gossip, slander, mean spirited words and every manner of malevolence gets unloaded onto other believers when we think we have “had enough” and just need to “let them have it.” Rancorous words that cut like a knife and pierce like a sword are put into e-mails and letters and spouted in public places.
We have become a society of mean spirits and loudmouths. When the world does it, they are only following the lead of their master, the devil himself. When Christians do it we are defying the very nature of the Savior and denying His Lordship in our lives.
Ugly words fail the Ephesians 4:29 test. We are admonished to “not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.” A modern paraphrase might add pen, computer or text message. The Christian way is always to speak the truth in love or not to speak at all. We are charged with the responsibility to spice our words with grace and make sure they build others up, rather than tear them down.
The old adage, “all is fair in love and war,” just does not stand up to Scripture standard. Indeed, for us to tear others apart with our words positions us to grieve the Holy Spirit. That is not something I want to do, and I doubt you do, either.
Following are a few guidelines for Christians to express themselves:
1. Think before you speak.
2. Pray before you speak tough words, and you can be assured your words will be seasoned with grace.
3. Write your words on a piece of paper or type them into the computer. Afterward, place them in file 13 or hit the delete button. Get the ugly words out and then write with a pure heart.
4. Do not-and I repeat, do not-give someone a piece of your mind. You can’t afford to lose that much brain power.
Ugliness in our society needs to go away. That will only happen one person at a time. More importantly, ugly talk among believers should be eliminated-period. If words don’t edify or build up and are not spoken in love, then do not let them pass the lips. Cork it. You and the person to whom you were going to speak will both be better off.