Grace-filled Speech

One of the great things about blogging is that it gives everyone a chance to express their opinions. In some ways (not every way, of course), it is even better than dialogue. People’s comments are judged based upon the merit of what they say, not their appearance; and you can’t be interrupted in mid-sentence.

As I visit various blogs, I enjoy hearing the thoughts of various bloggers. I have found many whose thoughts are informative, encouraging and inspiring. I even enjoy some of the theological debates that I have encountered, they are certainly challenging. Debate is a healthy thing, it teaches you to clearly understand and articulate your beliefs.

I am concerned, however, at the lack of graceful speech that I often find being demonstrated by God’s people to one another. When debates begin to escalate, the speech often degenerates into language that, while not profane, surely is scathing. Labels begin to pop up, sarcasm replaces reason, anger replaces gentleness, etc.

The purpose of grace that is given to God’s children is to help us get along. Well-meaning platitudes aside, believers will never come together as one until we get to heaven. There are simply too many opinions that vary too greatly. I often tell my church, “Where there are two Baptists, there will be three opinions.” But disagreement does not mean we cannot get along. Grace is meant to unify, mollify and edify. God says that our speech is to be “seasoned with grace”.

The church is described in the Bible as a “body”. The Bible further states that we are members one of another in that body. I like to think of grace as the cartilage between the bones that enables the bones to work together without causing pain. Anyone who has ever experienced this in their physical body can testify to how hurtful that can be.

We are never so right that we may use ungracious speech to those who are wrong. I am becoming more and more convinced that being right with a wrong spirit is almost as bad as being wrong.

We should be truthful. We should maintain integrity to our beliefs. We should earnestly contend for the faith. But we should never resort to disingenious questions, scathing remarks or personal attacks.

I want to thank those of you who read my blog for demonstrating what I am speaking of now. I am sure with the number who come here that there are those who hold different positions. We have had Calvinists, Arminians, those who are neither, Baptists (of several varieties), charismatics and only God knows how many others. In a group of that variety there will certainly be differences, but thus far we have avoided the vitriolic speech that I have mentioned.

As we speak with others, whether on-line, at church, work, school or even on the highway (ouch), let our speech be graceful and draw men to God.


22 responses to “Grace-filled Speech

  1. Thanks for the post,

    I like the the line about to Baptists, I go to a Baptists church, but I really don’t know if I’m a Baptists or what,
    I just know that I believe in his word and that need to help one another,
    thanks again for the post ๐Ÿ™‚
    have a great day!

  2. Amen Brother! Grace upon grace. Let us never be hurtful to one another. In so doing we are injuring Christ. Thank you for you encouragement.

  3. Sound thoughts. A much needed message.

  4. …”I am becoming more and more convinced that being right with a wrong spirit is almost as bad as being wrong”…

    you have put into words what i have been feeling for some time. i get so confused and discouraged when i see “brothers/sisters” being so hateful with their words. i understand that when you believe something strongly we want others to know, but why can’t we somehow come to grips with the fact that others just may not be at the same point on the journey. i try to see it that many are ahead of me on this journey and some are still behind. but bottom line i have missions in this life that no one else can do and if i keep my focus on others all the time i cannot accomplish what God has given for me to do.

    g’ness! i’ll get off my soap box for now. but these type issues really do strike a nerve in me, i reckon. thanks for being bold enough to say them so straight!


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  6. Thanks Gordon-

    Great post and very timely in my own walk. You are a blessing.

  7. I agree with you Gordon, though I think there are times (few though I would say) where remarks might be better as scathing – John the Baptist, and our Lord had some pretty scathing remarks for the Pharisees. That said, I would again emphasize the notion that times requiring speech like that are probably less than times requiring speech like you have written about – and I think the Bible demonstrates this for us. Thanks for the thoughts. They ought to have some practical use in my own life for sure.

  8. Thanks all for your visits and comments.

    Janice–glad to see you have a blog up and running.

    Gigi–My sentiments exactly.

    Matthew–always good to see you, my brother.

    Lisa–You are right on target about people’s place in their journey.

    Tony–Glad it touched you, my friend.

    Rob–you make a good point. I believe the instances you cited would be probably more of a preaching nature. There indeed are times when we are to confront sin with plain language.

    In this post, I am thinking more of the debates that we often see in the blogosphere.

  9. Thanks Gordan,

    Good post as usual. I think it is key when commenting on blogs to remember 1.) if a professing Christian, this blog’s owner is a brother/sister bought by the blood of the Lamb; and 2.) I am a representative of the body and kingdom of Christ to all who read my comments.

    I must speak with love and deference.

  10. Jeff–those are excellent guidelines. You summarized in two sentences what I tried to say in an entire post.

  11. you are right on in your assessment Gordon. I have been to some so-called Christian sites this week, where I felt that I needed a helmet to enter the room!

    Does anybody know what the term “emerging church” is supposed to mean. This is what they were arguing about, and I’d never heard the term before!

  12. Hey Gordon
    thanks ,
    have a great day

  13. Amen.
    Great words to follow.

  14. if only we could publish this and let all christians read this…unfortunately, only a percentage would actually “get it” and even fewer would act upon it. before long, they’d forget what they ever read and begin acting the same because that’s what’s in their heart and unless they change their inward thoughts, they probably won’t change their actions indefinitely – whether right or wrong.

    but, these are words we, as christians, do need to hear, take heed to, and act upon.

    btw, are you a pastor? i’m sorry if i missed that memo…hehe

  15. Great post and I agree! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Meagan, yes I am a pastor. I have the privilege of serving Pine Park Baptist Church in Cairo, GA. This coming Sunday will mark my fifth anniversary there.

  17. Hi Gordon,
    Really great post and a definate needed message. This is something I have had happen to me and have done so myself recently. Sometimes in the heat of an arguement things come out in a way that you wish they didn’t or people interpret what you are saying as personal attacks when that wasn’t your intention. We gotta watch what we say and how we say it!

  18. Thank you for this post. When I first discovered this blogging world, I was reading a lot of blogs and finding myself really disturbed by the “fighting.” I’ve settled in with those that I find edifying…thanks.

  19. I think everyone that has come to my blog has been very well spoken and most generous in considering the the things I write about. I love people to disagree with me. That means they are thinking! “Come now, and let us reason together”

  20. Pingback: Christian Statesmanship–Part 1 « Heavenly Heartburn

  21. I just finished reading your articles, Gordon, about Christian Statesmanship; and, on many points I do agree that very often debate is reduced to name calling and a great deal of argument.

    I am reminded of Christ’s warning, that we who follow Him and speak only God’s Truth will be persecuted; we will be called blasphemers, false prophets, and doers of the Devil’s work. After all, they said these same things of Christ. Yet, we are to bless those who do so. Why? Because they unwittingly confirm that we bear God’s Seal. As the Word says, this persecution is to our good but to their damnation. If we, as followers, are not being called these things by people who profess to be Christians, then we should question whether or not we are speaking God’s Truth or mankind’s flawed form of it.

    To speak Truth is the highest form of love and it should be delivered with finesse. But, no matter how well we phrase God’s Truth, no matter how gently we deliver it, there is no escaping the fact that the majority will be offended by God’s Truth. It simply does not fit the lifestyle they choose to live; one wherein they can continue in sin yet believe they will be saved nonetheless.

    Based on the above, the Word gives further instruction: we are “to warn our brethren when we see them living in sin, warn once or twice; but, if after the second admonition they do not repent, it is because their mind is perverted. We are to reject that brethren.”

    Mankind’s way is to keep hammering at such a person, and that is to set up ourselves as God and to make God’s choices; therefore committing idolatry. As Jesus said, “God chooses whom He will to follow His Son.” We cannot know a person’s heart, though as the above passage indicates, we can come to know their mind. It is for this reason we are instructed NOT to strive, argue, God’s Word. It is ours only to deliver it, twice if necessary; beyond that, it is God’s choice as to who will receive it and who will not.

    You make wonderful points here and, as a recepient of the above noted name calling, I have many times wished people would be more gracious; for Truth Speakers are attempting to save their lives.

    During a time, many years ago when it was so frustrated with the lack of “ears that hear” and an over abundance of strivers, I asked the Lord what was I doing wrong in delivering His Truths. Had I misunderstood something? His responded, “I never told you they would believe you.” Indeed, indeed. What a burden this lifted from my shoulders, to finally understand that it was not mine to “make” anyone believe; only mine to speak to “every ear that will hear.”

    I really enjoyed these two articles, Gordon. Stop by for a visit some time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Much love in Christ,

  22. Thanks for your visit and sharing these thoughts, Bonnie.

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