Wednesday, July 02, 2008

"Is Your Speech Like Honey?"

"...that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech..."
1 Corinthians 1:5

I'm not much of a blogger as you can tell, but in reading Christian blogs lately I've noticed that anonimity seems to foster neglect of a Christian's responsibility to communicate words in a gentle, kind, dripping with honey, sort of way. From the looks of things out there in the Christian blogosphere, it seems some people are just ripping away angrily at the keyboard and pressing "publish post" before they've read and reread what they are posting. It is amazing how theological issues quickly deteriorate into slams against another's character!
I certainly believe in defending ones position. When comments are published that truly speak to an issue there is certainly no need for a false humility. Richard Baxter says:

When a wise man knoweth in what measure he is wise, and in what measure other men are ignorant, or erroneous; and when he is conscious of his knowledge, and delighted and pleased in it through the love of truth, and thankful to God for revealing it to him, and blessing so far his studies and endeavours; all this is mercy and duty, and not pride. For truth is amiable and delectable in itself. And he that knoweth must needs know that he knoweth; as he that seeith doth perceive by seeing that he seeth. And if it be a fault to know that I know, it must be a fault to know at all. But some knowledge is necessary and unresistible, and we cannot avoid it; and that which is good must be valued, and we must be thankful for it. Humility doth no more require that a wise man think his knowledge equal with a fool's or ignorant man's, than that a sound man take himself to be sick. When a wise man valueth the useful knowledge which God hath given him, avoe all the glory and vanities of the world, which are indeed of lower wroth, this is not pride, but a due estimation of things. When a wise man desireth that others were of his mind, for their own good, and the propagating of the truth, this is not pride, but charity and love of truth; else preachers were the proudest men and Paul had doen ill in labouring so much for men's conversion..." (The Practical Works of Richard Baxter)
That said, as Christians we must be careful how we speak to others, even in the blogosphere with the written word. Jeering, mocking, scorning, deriding, chiding speech does not serve a gracious God.
"Scorners delight in scorning," Prov. 1:22
"What is desirable in a man is his kindness," Prov. 19:22
"Sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness," Prov. 16:21
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bone," Prov. 16:24
"He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles," Prov. 21:23
I'll go back to Baxter who says,
"The principal work must be about the heart; for "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." The tongue will be no other way effectually governed--if the heart be upon the world, the tongue will most commonly be upon the world; you may force it a little against your hearts, but it will be to a very unconstant obedience; when you ever so little loose the reins it is gone...Therefore, if you would overcome the vanity, or worldliness, or wantonness, or any other corruption of your speech, first set yourselves to overcome the same corruption in yuour hearts, and to revive and actuate the contrary graces. And if you would use your tongues to the honour of God, and the edification of men, wind up the spring of those holy affections which must be as water to the mill. It is the use of the tongue to express the mind: and it is the use of holy speech to be the expression of a holy mind."
May we as Christians be careful in how we speak, even in replying on blogs. It seems it's far to easy for people to attack without any thought to who might be reading. I think bloggers should read over their comments several times...and if they are in a heated discussion, click on the news or youtube for a quick laugh (merry heart), then click on biblegateway to get some Scripture on speech and the tongue, then go back to their comment, ask if the comment is gracious and kind--even if it's defending one's position, pray, then post. We'd have a lot less hot headed Christians out there tearing down those that are truly trying to defend truth in a gracious way where people will actually listen and think about what's being given to them. Make your serving platter beautiful and your dainty bits delectible and surely people will be open to tasting those theological tidbits.


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