Grace-filled Speech

Editorial Note: I originally published this article in February of this year. Given some exchanges I have seen recently in the blogosphere, I felt that it would be relevant to repost it. I do not write this to single anyone out, but to remind myself what Christian discourse is intended to be.

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.

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8 responses to “Grace-filled Speech

  1. Amen, Gordon. I am still relatively new to the blogosphere and am thankful God has led me here. I have seen some very healthy debates degenerate into just what you describe. I am so glad I was not on either end of the vitriol.

    It does seem to me that some articles are posted just for the sake of drawing fire. Have you seen that or understood it from some blogs? I don’t understand that mentality. If you feel strongly about something, that is fine, but it isn’t wise to let passion and conviction overtake reason and grace, not to mention humility. I think its best we attempt to hold those in balance.

    A good blogging friend recently said on another blog, “One can stand for what you believe to be true, yet be humble enough to recognize your own flaws in the process.”

    Many blessings, and thank you for a great blog. Your blog is one of the examples of what I hope mine to become.

    Tony

  2. Tony, thanks for your visit and kind words. I have enjoyed reading your blog and comments on other’s blogs as well.

    Yes, I have noticed that some blogs seem to intentionally post articles that are calculated to create controversy. I don’t want to be guilty of judging, but perhaps they are simply trying to pad their statistics.

    It’s good to have you in the blogosphere. We definitely need more of your kind.

  3. Good thoughts Gordon. Now if we could just get rid of the Christianese 🙂

  4. Still good, still relevant. It’s sad that in a time when bloggers are being sued for slander, Christian blogs haven’t been a stronger influence.

    I’m about ready to purge my blogroll because of some of the attitudes and ugliness on some blogs. Won’t mean much to them, but it’ll sure make me feel better.

    Maybe if enough of us keep calling for civility it will have some effect.

  5. Gordon,
    I came over to your blog to let you know how much I appreciated your comment on the article “The Handwriting on the Wall” at Fire and Hammer.
    When I got here I saw you had posted a not so new article. I did not remember ever reading it, and found it to be ever so needed.
    Because of some of the vicious attacks on others I have deleted a few bloggers from my blog rolls. That kind of thing does not interest me at all. I pray that it never does, or if anyone sees anything like that in my writings that they will remind me of how to be a Christian.
    Thanks Gordon. I really needed the encouragement.

  6. Well, this is interesting. I had just clicked “publish” on my latest post tonight before seeing this one in my Bloglines. And guess what? We were thinking the same thing!! 🙂

    I used to link to some blogs under my generic “Some Blogs I Read”, and the moved several to a new category called “Blogs that Keep Me on My Toes”, but eventually just deleted that entire category (and the links within it) because I didn’t want to be associated any longer with those blogs by linking to them.

    All of the people who have commented on this thread here are ones that I have appreciated getting to know (and all, at one time or another, have commented on my blog, too). It’s encouraging to read these comments.

    (By the way, Tim, if you see references on my blog in my recent posts to “fire” and “hammer”, please know that they have nothing to do with your blog by that title!!)

    steve 🙂

  7. Guys, I want to thank all of you for your heart in this. This post was not a “filler” post, but one that is heavy on my heart right now.

    It grieves me when I see God’s people treat each other like the world treats its own. It grieves me even more when I allow myself to get dragged into it.

    This post is not descriptive of what I always am, but it is descriptive of what I strive to be.

    I appreciate the blogging friendship that I share with each of you. You guys are truly a blessing to me.

  8. Gordon, a challenging post. Thanks.

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