Thursday, August 20, 2009

Obligations that Come with Privilege

"May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your, O Lord, my Rock, and my redeemer."
Psalm 19:14

Several years a go a great movie came out that was called, Ever After. There is a line in the movie that I believe illustrates an important Biblical truth. Danielle says to her beloved Prince who hated the obligations that came with being a prince, "You have been born to privilege and with that comes specific obligations." There have been times I've rejoiced in being born again as a beloved child of the King of kings. There have been other times I haven't liked the idea that as a believer I'm held to higher responsibility. Over the last several years God has been convicting me that being His child comes with specific obligations, especially when it comes to the words that come out of my mouth and the thoughts I think that no one sees.

To me, it is very scary to think my words not only have the potential to promote healing, encourage, or build up others, but they also can deeply wound hearts. It's even scarier to think the inappropriate thoughts I don’t take captive could rise to the surface and crush others’ souls. It is sobering to think I can choose to either speak a lie or choose to share God's truth. I can choose to damage someone's reputation by broadcasting faults or I can preserve their dignity by pointing out their strengths. I can push a brother who's stumbled away from God with judgmental words and attitudes. or I can get between him and the sinful path he is headed down with loving confrontation. But, scarier is the realization that my words can either draw nonbelievers to the Savior or they can drive them further away.

Even though our salvation is totally based on God and His grace, I believe, as God's children, it is imperative for us to assume responsibility for our thoughts and our words. Matthew 12:36 says that we will give an account for every word that comes out of our mouth and James 3:10 tells us that that we should not be both cursing man and blessing God with our mouths. Paul, in his Epistles, tells us to put away evil speaking, filthiness, and foolish talking. Proverbs also contain many principles about our words. For example: "A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth"…"Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but they that deal truly are His delight"…"The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts."

Several conversations I've had with people over the years have reminded me we live in a brutal world. Students walk halls of schools in which vile language is accepted as the norm. Both teachers and/or parents tell them they will never amount to anything. Peers add to their pain by telling them that they are hated, stupid, or ugly on a regular basis. Women are sexually harassed in the school's hallways and in the workplace on a daily basis. Employers degrade employees with harsh words that tear at the heart. Hate is spewed in internet in posts for which their is no accountability.

As a parent, I wish I could take back words I hurled in anger at my children. In a world that is so perverse in its speech and in a world that takes delight in hurting others, we as children of God have an obligation as people born to privilege to make a difference in the lives of others with words carefully chosen that can be a soothing balm to wounded hearts. Our words carefully chosen can preserve another's dignity. Our words carefully chosen can provide correction while building others up. Our words carefully chosen can draw others closer to the Savior and to the heart of the Heavenly Father. Our words carefully chosen can allow us to fulfill the purpose for which we were created and to which we were called at salvation. Our words carefully chosen can save us from a whole lot of shame, grief, and regret later. 

It is important to realize the following verse is is more than a command. It’s an issue of the heart. Matthew 12:35-36 says "…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things." What would it take for us to be a people whose hearts bring forth good and refreshing words? It would take us spending time in God's word and letting His Truth correct our thinking and softening our hearts with His love. It would take us sitting before God and asking Him to look inside and purify our thoughts that we may be afraid to face because they reveal the depth of our depravity. It might require letting God uncover buried hurts so He can heal them, because hurting people are people who usually hurt others. It might require we let Him heal our hearts so we aren’t so inclined to spew bitterness we feel on others. It may take us sitting quietly before Him and letting Him cut away our envy, desire for strife, and our pride. I don't think we can imagine the impact we could have in this world as God's Ambassadors if we became a people whose were passionate about honoring The Creator who purchased us with His own Son with our thoughts and with our words. If we become a people who seek to honor God above all else, we can become a people whose words reflect His heart, His love, and His hope. We can be people who cease to wound others, facilitating healing and reconciling a world broken and hurting. Are we willing to face and confess ugliness we hide and allow God to transform us? 

Prayer: Father, place in us a passion to honor You with our words. Give us words that facilitate healing rather than wounding people. Give us words that convey love, not hatred. Give us words that speak hope into lives of other people rather than robbing them of it. Give us words that will reflect Your love and Your truth rather than Satan's hatred and his lies. Father, look deep down into the deepest part of our hearts where only You can see. So often that is the place that our most shameful thoughts and attitudes reside. These are the thoughts that have the potential to overflow into our words and our actions. Look in side of us and examine our heart and reveal to us everything that is not Holy, that does not reflect Your character, and does not speak of your love. Purify us to be Your instruments of reconciliation, hope, and healing. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Wendy, I needed that - especially the paragraph with James 3:10 in it! EEK!




Several years ago I realized that I often sped through my Scripture reading and gave it little thought. Yet, when I had meaningful conversations with friends or family members I replayed them over and over in my head. One day it occurred to me, that if I thought more about what God says in his word that I would not only know more about Him, but I would come to know Him in a personal way. I would know more about His thoughts, His character, His intentions, His passions, and His actions. So, I began to take one verse at a time and think on it and then journal about it. At the time I was served as a volunteer in youth ministry and shared my “Thoughts on God” with those girls. For a while I have been rewriting and posting them on this blog. I have realized when I am in the Word or move through my day focusing on God's presence that I have wonderful opportunities to Meet God in the Everyday. The Everyday can include storms, blessings, hard things, scary things, exciting things...just any where, anyplace, any time. I hope that you will be able to engage with what I write with both your head and your heart. I also hope you will be challenged to love, trust, and know the God of the Scriptures. It is my prayer that as you read you will experience Him at a deeper level and share pieces of your journey in the comments. It is my desire that we form a safe community of believers who pursue the God who loves us radically, eternally, and without reserve. As a precious pastor once told me, "Don't forget, Wendy, God is Good!" I find myself compelled by His Goodness and His Love to share so others can know Him through all the ups and downs of life. Please feel free to dialogue back and to share how each passage impacts you. If if there is a passage you would like me to write on or if you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. I am just learning to navigate this blog and appreciate the kind comments you have made in the past...I promise I will even try to respond if you leave a note. If you are blessed please share the blog with friends!