It’s hard being perfect. Knowing everything and always being right. It makes it very hard for me in daily life with other people who aren’t perfect and are very often wrong. I am sure you feel the same way sometimes.
Just to be clear I know I am not perfect and I certainly don’t know everything. So why do I act and talk and think like I do? Why do I have to ‘win’ every discussion? How do I let things go without compromising what I think? How do I disagree in a loving way? Is it even possible to disagree in a loving way? I struggle with this a lot. You might guess from reading my blogs I am a woman of strong opinions. I read, I research and I come to a conclusion. If you oppose that conclusion I will stand my ground and defend my right to be right to the death. Then when the dust settles I might go and look at what you said, consider it and if I find truth adjust my stance.
I think that part is right, when it comes to faith I should weigh what I hear against God’s Word, against Truth, His Truth not mine. But I have to be loving. I have to be kind. I have to be patient. If I am not then all my faith means nothing because without love I am nothing but a clanging gong.
I mentioned the other week 2 sermons I specifically recall. The second was Ian Watson, again at Queensgate Pentecostal Church in Burnley. He was talking about our speech (I extend it to other communication.) He said before we speak we ought to weigh three things.
Is it true?
Is it needful?
Is it kind?
If what you want to say does not meet all three of those criteria then don’t say it. I think those are wise words. If something is not true then I have no business at all saying it at all. Not for any reason whatsoever. Nope… no reason. Lies do not help anyone.
The needful part gets interesting. Necessary, of course it’s necessary that I correct someone who is wrong. They can’t be allowed to suffer in their error, going down wrong paths and I know what is best… Hmmm. See what I mean about interesting? Needful for whom? Needful for me to demonstrate my goodness and wisdom? Needful for them to appreciate how great I am in showing them their error? Needful for them to experience God’s love and kindness? If I am seeing any need other than the last then I should keep my mouth shut.
So it might be true, it might be necessary but is it kind? Am I going to hurt them by the things I say and how I say it? We talk about harsh truth. We yell don’t touch that electric wire while you are standing in water. Don’t put your hand in the lion’s cage. Don’t take those drugs. Don’t watch that porn. All those things are true and necessary but should truth ever be harsh? God is truth, He is love.
I want my words, my ‘truth’ to bring healing to people, that’s the whole point of speaking like this. Not to be ‘right’, not to puff myself up with how much I know and how wrong they are but to bring healing. I need to pause and pray and find the best way to speak if I am sure I should speak.
The last thing I want to do is stir up anger. Unfortunately no matter how careful I am, sometimes anger is the response. I need to be sure I have done nothing to make that worse. Perhaps even to the point of saying nothing and praying and letting the Holy Spirit work. That is for me the hardest part. To just say nothing. Hence the title Thumper’s advice plus Godly wisdom.