I remember very well the first words my daughter learned how to say, "No!" followed very soon by "mama!" (I would have preferred a different order on those, but...) She picked up on the whole talking thing very quickly, just like most of us do.
Talking comes naturally to us humans. But talking well, in ways that are holy, that build people up? That takes more work.
So we need to learn how to do it, and how to do it well. It takes practice. It takes grace. And it takes a willingness to look at ourselves humbly and honestly, because what we say, how we say it, and why we say it matters!
This last Sunday, we looked at the concept of having holy conversations with God and others. And we focused on the concept of why we say things- the intent behind our words.
Consider some of your conversations this week. How much of what you said did you actually think about before you said it? And how much of it was reactionary, emotion-based, or "off-the-cuff?" Jesus reminds us, in Matthew 15:18, that "the words you speak come from the heart..." What we say comes from the state of our hearts. Ouch... I don't know about you, but considering some of the things that come from my mouth, I have to wonder about the state of my heart...
Are you saying things that betray a proud, angry, selfish heart? Or do your words betray your allegiance to Christ above all things? See, why we say things matters! What we say, and how we say it matters too- and we'll get to that next week. But for this week, here's some advice, advice I'll be taking as well.
Before you speak- think! If the words that are about to come out of your mouth are not holy, or encouraging, or good, or helpful (see Ephesians 4:29), then don't say them! Instead, spend some time heart-searching with God. Why do you want to respond that way? Is there something in your life you need God to work on so that your immediate response is less...ugly?
Here are some questions to consider this week:
When was the last time you said something you shouldn’t have?
What happened when you did that? What could you have said differently?
How can God help us to have holy conversations with everyone?
Cori Cypret is the pastor of The United Methodist Church of Coopersville.