Monday, January 21, 2008

My Tongue, My Responsibility

So, I know with Darin's remarks yesterday that some people are wondering, "What was that about?" (If you missed worship, he asked that people not slander me, especially if their real gripe is with him. And let me add at this point how much I genuinely love having a "brave defender" in my life.) Apparently, I've been the topic of conversation at a local establishment. Poor woman has nothing better to talk about, I guess! I consider my life and ministry to be pretty average, even dull at times, but she was either at such a dearth for conversation topics, or felt strongly enough about her negative opinion about me, to say something in front of strangers who don't know me and fellow church members who do.

Before I knew with certainty who the person was, I had a suspicion, and later found it to be correct. It is truly a word of wisdom to me about how I use my own tongue. Think about it: How sad that after living here less than 8 months, I was able to identify this type of behavior as hers because of what I've seen of her character. I pray that my lifelong character will reflect to others a Christ-like representation of truth spoken in love (Eph 4:15) and only as is edifying for the moment (Eph 4:29). I'd be so grieved to know that people could easily and rightly assume that cruel words were spoken by me because the words resembled my nature and character: "nice" on the surface and "venomous" within.

But in truth, the thing that upset(s) me most of all is that she's much more interested in her right to express her opinion than her responsibility to demonstrate Christlike love and keep peace in the fellowship of believers (Gal 6:10). James addresses this quite forcefully, "If you think you are being religious, but can't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself and everything you do is useless" (1:26), and "All of us do many wrong things. But if you can control your tongue, you are mature" (3:5).

I know I'm not alone in having had this happen to me. Probably every person in every family, workplace, church, community, etc., has known the pang of gossip and back-biting. And it's easy, even logical, to want to attack with more words. Lest I go on and become what I despise, I'll end my thoughts and pray instead. Perhaps you'll join me:

God, I know I've got a long way to go before I use my mouth exclusively in wisdom and healing (Prov. 12:18). Help me to guard my mouth and tongue (Prov 21:23). Empty my heart of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice, and guide me to become useful and helpful, understanding and forgiving to others, just as you have forgiven me. Help me to imitate you and live a life of love (Eph 4:31-5:2), and do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Gal 6:10).

P.S. Thanks God, for the many who offered love and encouragement to me yesterday. You blessed my spirit and my soul through them!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love ya .... I wish there was more that I could say to help but I am truely at a loss for words. Let me know when you feel like getting out and we will "do lunch".