Not on my Watch!
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths… (Eph. 4:29)
Have you ever noticed how political discussions have a way of bringing out the worst in people. Does the degree of verbal slander between candidates and the angry comments of much of the general populace about those candidates seem over the top to you? I have to admit that I get caught up in the verbal name-calling at times, and I’m not proud of it. I do believe our nation is at a crossroads in terms of the character, values, and core beliefs that define us as a nation. Still, we must guard ourselves from crass and derisive ridicule of those with whom we disagree. There is nothing to gain by losing our cool.
At the dinner table the other night, I listened as my grandson regurgitated language about a presidential candidate that startled me. Where did he learn to say such things? One guess. I was guilty of ‘unwholesome talk’ that did nothing to build up my grandson’s character, or others. Is this what I wanted?
I doubt most of us want our grandchildren to become self-righteous and arrogant, which is exactly how more than 80 percent of the younger generations view most Christians. Instead, we want them to walk in the truth as kind, gracious men and women. If that’s what you want, here are a few biblical principles that we should all take to heart if we want our grandkids to learn how to express opinions without losing their cool:
1. Cultivate a humble heart: remember God opposes (that’s scary) the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Pride is nurtured by a grand illusion of self-importance and self-promotion; humility actually sees others as better than ourselves. That’s radical!
2. Practice patience: Proverbs says a hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. Patience rests confidently in the providential work of God in others…and me, in God’s time.
3. Learn to forgive: that will happen only when I realize how much I have been forgiven and how much for which I still need to repent. Forgiveness does not justify sin or human depravity. It only acknowledges that there—but by the grace of God—go I.
4. Speak words of blessing: words of criticism and cursing are easier. Blessing means to intentionally speak well of another. If I can’t do that, then maybe I should keep my mouth shut. Better yet, maybe I should suggest to my grandson that we pray for our leaders instead of ridiculing them.
I grant you, there is plenty to be concerned about in our nation right now. I’m not suggesting we neglect helping our grandchildren understand the issues at stake. But losing our cool through unwholesome speech does not reflect well on the truth or on our heart, does it? And it won’t help our grandchildren’s heart either.
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