Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What Our Words and Voices Say to Those Who Observe Us

Just a few thoughts for all of us to chew on for a while as it concerns those things that people hear us both say verbally as well as what we say via the many channels of today’s social media.

I began thinking on this subject just yesterday for an idea to take shape and this post to begin forming in the deep waters of my mind.

Do any of us ever take the time to contemplate what we say before we say it? And, when I ask this question, trust me on this… I’m asking it of myself as much as I am asking it for you my reader. Additionally, I am truly targeting a specific audience here. And, that audience would be those of you who read this and would identify themselves as followers of Christ.

I can quote scripture that backs my questions up and I am going to do that for my sake and yours, so let’s dive in.

The reason I am contemplating this subject has multiple reasons, but from a day to day perspective, this discussion comes out of my daily review of social media and that being primarily Facebook.

Recently, I have found myself being assaulted by more and more instances where I open up my Facebook wall only to find any number of offensive (to me anyway) words bludgeoning my psyche, my eyes, and my internal thesaurus. I’m not kidding either, when I say that I am blocking 3 – 5 posts and or individual Facebook friends for using words that even though they may be part of the English language and yes, found in a dictionary, they are unwelcome showing up on my Facebook wall or being spouted off in public either.

Now, before you go off on me or call me a prude or tell me I am being way too judgmental, let’s remember that I am primarily speaking to myself and my fellow Christ followers.

Does what we say, write, or re-post matter when it comes to something we rarely talk about amongst ourselves or in our churches these days, which is our “witness” to others around us? Honestly, I am asking you because I would love to hear anybody else’s thoughts on this.

When the scriptures say that we are to be in the world, but not of it, what does that mean for us? If anything?

I’m unsure if I ever hear many people talking about something like personal holiness these days. We are not talking about being holier than thou, or looking down on someone who may have only recently accepted Christ and grew up in an environment that thought nothing of the impact of words, 4 letter or otherwise. What I am talking about is those of us who have been in the faith for a bit and ought to be more self-aware regarding how we speak or how our words are perceived.

The tongue is a powerful tool and can build up and destroy in the same breath.

What we are also talking about is a personal ownership and value placed upon our integrity and whether people take us seriously or not.

People will not view what you say as being valuable once your witness has been tainted by the fact that they just see you as just another “religious” person rather than a committed follower of Christ.

I am not judging anyone specifically. I am merely asking whether you or I in the context of who we say we belong to and aspire to be like, are  reflecting on whether we are shining God’s perfect and holy light to the world? Or, are we sending the world mixed messages that are lost in translation when we end up looking no different than the world that we are supposed to be set apart from?

What I am pointing out is this: Our following Christ comes with a cost. Our following Christ means that we have to not only look to the past and appreciate what Christ did on the cross so long ago for us, but we must (as scripture asks of us) take up that cross daily and live in such a way that honors Jesus and shows that we at least in part understand that he died for each and every sin we have committed and are yet to commit in our lives. What a shame on us it is when if we recognize what he has done, that we knowingly continue to sin for no other reason than to look cool in the world’s eyes, or to fit in with current culture, or to avoid having to explain why we are behaving differently than the majority around us.

We are called in scripture as aliens and strangers. We have our inheritance and citizenship in heaven. Why then do we so often set aside our adoption as sons and daughters to live in a counterfeit life where we don’t rock the boat as radicals? For that is what we are to be, radicals in a world that prefers to have us all live as something less than we are called to be.

Let’s all make a pact. Not one to call each other out or to hurt one another for having briefly lived as someone who is less than we can be in Christ. Let’s make a pact to live a life in holiness that only our total dependence in Christ can bring about. And, instead of judging each other, or calling out each other’s failings, we lift each other frequently in prayer or quietly praise and encourage each other to live as the holy children of God that we are called and meant to be.

Today’s scriptures. All come from the ESV.

James 3:10
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so

Ephesians 5:4
Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Colossians 3:8
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

In Christ’s love and in humility,

Mike Meehan