So now the Republican Presidential Primary race has gotten personal, where a political action group opposing Donald Trump posted a tasteless tweet about Mr. Trump’s wife. Mr. Trump responded in kind by threatening Ted Cruz’s wife and then posted a classless tweet about Heidi Cruz. This is why Ronald Reagan once said, “Politics is supposed to be be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”
The nastiness of our national dialogue has descended into the sewer, in no small part because of social media. People who would never think twice about saying something to a person’s face, eagerly posts vicious and vitriolic words. I understand that our politics has always been dirty, but now we’re like pigs in a sty. We no longer notice the mud.
Diving head first into the social pig sty are those who describe themselves as Christians. It is an easy thing to do. I have had to correct myself and even apologize for some of things I have written. I am vowing to not allow myself to wallow in the political mud anymore.
As Christians, we are supposed to be edifying and encouraging people. Our words should be health to the souls and spirits with whom we come into contact. While it is important that we lovingly correct wrong behavior, even then our words should be uplifting. King Solomon explains:
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.” (Proverbs 25:11-12)
I recall a moment in my career when my platoon leader and me were closing a base. We had about some wall mirrors missing that came with our troops barracks. We informed our company commander that a report of survey would be needed to account for the lost mirrors.
Now this commander was known for his volcanic temper and ability to ping. He immediately turned a bright plum color and started shouting obscenities and literally became incoherent. When he was done, my platoon leader (a well-seasoned senior sergeant) hilariously said, “Sir, through all that screaming I didn’t hear a darn thing you just said.”
Now that is a funny story. However, my platoon sergeant shared a piece of wisdom that I have never forgot. We are least understood when we lose our tempers and shout insults and obscenities at people. In his later years, Solomon shared this nugget of wisdom:
“Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard rather than the shout of a ruler of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 9:17)
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. At times a strong rebuke is needed. Our Lord Jesus Christ used very harsh words to shock His listeners. However, He did so to get people’s attention and cause a change in bad behavior. Too often we say things to hurt and maim. We are not our Savior and we must diligently guard our hearts and mouths.
So how to we do this conversational balancing act? This time, Solomon’s father David provides the answer:
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
We all have a public platform and regardless its size, we should be using it to point people to righteousness. We must stand in the gap publicly for the truth. That means we must first know the truth, but even then it can be used as a sledgehammer. At times, a sledgehammer is needed, but you’ve rarely seen a carpenter use one to build a house. This is a tool for driving things into the ground and demolishing that which is no longer needed.
We must focus our thoughts and spoken words on improving our friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors. The Apostle Paul had to say and write words that he knew would upset people and could easily be misunderstood. However, Paul knew that if his words were followed, then it would be profitable to those who were obedient:
“And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.” (1 Corinthians 7:35)
Are the words you speak and write profitable for those on the receiving end, or are they meant to hurt? What is the state of your heart when those words come to mind?
Lord, please let all I say and write be edifying to those who receive them and glorifying to God the Father. Amen.
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Copyright © 2016 David Jeffers