Sunday, January 29, 2012

~ "Only Grace..."

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Eph 4:29)
Back in the day (my day, of course), it was considered the "cool" thing to infiltrate your sentence structure with words that contained four letters.  If you were very good at this, you could use one word over and over and make a sentence twice as long as it really was.  Your ability to use this word descriptively was challenging and designed to show a greater command of the English language than your parents did.  Even George Carlin (comedian extraordinaire) wrote a piece to describe seven of these words (the majority of them contained only four letters) ascertaining that there were no bad words, only bad thoughts.  
Now, it's not so much what we say, but how we say it, that brings us to today's verse - no, I do not abdicate the use of profanity (and yes, in my day, I could swear like a trooper and tell you, without hesitation or miscommunication, to visit Satan's domain and make you look forward to taking the trip).  It's not just the words, but often the sentiment we project in some of our spoken "comments" to others.  
So what are we supposed to say and how are we supposed to say it?  Yes, there is a need for honesty (there's not quite enough of it, especially when it comes to our politicians), but there is also a need for compassion.  My mother always told me that "it's not so much what you say, but how you say it".  Telling someone that their choice of clothing is hideously ugly as opposed to telling someone they might want to "rethink their wardrobe"; giving someone the opinion that what they've cooked for you tastes like ground glass as opposed to "it's just not something that my taste buds enjoy"; or even telling someone their artistic talent belongs in the room with all the porcelain furniture as opposed to "it's really not what appeals to me"...choice of wording.
There are gracious ways of handling certain situations and there are rude ways.  In all things, the Lord asks that we be gracious - to give grace - as He has given us.  Let your words reflect honesty without malice.  Don't show asperity, offer kindness.  Don't humiliate, respect.  When all is said and done, the words you utter will show only grace...