“Swap accusing words with kind words, and watch how the language of love squashes rudeness. And in the process, those who are away from Jesus will be drawn to the Jesus in you.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 8, 2021
Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:13-14
The pandemic may have had a lethal effect on American manners. Lawyers are reporting ruder clients. Restaurants are reporting ruder clients. Flight attendants, for whom rude clients are no novelty, are reporting mayhem; passenger fines have exceeded $1 million this year. Re-entry into society is proving to be a little bumpy.
Time Magazine, November 8/15, 2021, page 29
Have you experienced the epidemic of rudeness highlighted by the Time magazine quote above? Short tempers, defensiveness and anger all seem to be the first course of action with individuals and groups who disagree with one another. How can individuals start to make the shift from rudeness to kindness, from impatience to patience, from hatred to love? A dignified dialogue honors God and all parties. Is anyone listening? Yes, millions of Americans long for a language of love to accompany our conversations. We are on the same team, yet we act like we are enemies. Lost is the art of civil discourse and the new normal is whoever shouts the loudest wins.
A person with significant influence in my life is my mother-in-law, and never once have I heard her raise her voice. Her favorite verse: May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord…Not only was she a woman who spoke with a language of love like no one I’ve ever met (she was fluent)—Jean also instilled this high level of gracious conversational skill in her children. She modeled the way, inspiring all of us to master this universal language of love. Often, she would pause and ask, “Will my words please the Lord?” This was her default before a difficult dialogue with someone who held different views and values.
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24).
Can we stop shouting and start listening? Listening to understand, instead of waiting for our phantom adversary to stop talking, so we can attempt to change him by insulting him. Really? Rarely is one influenced by feeling insulted, yet we drone on with a delusional sense of superiority. Can we pause, stop the rudeness and recognize each other as flawed humans—flawed and desperately in need of one another. We all win when we all have a dignified dialogue, a conversation that respects another’s differences, and we learn together. Can we all grow fluent in the language of love? Can we learn from my mother-in-law to pause and pray?
What does it mean for your words to be pleasing to the Lord? As the Psalmist stated, it starts in the heart. What you meditate on in your heart and mind comes out as the good fruit of the Holy Spirit or the bad fruit of an unholy spirit. If you obsess in anger, you set yourself up to displease God and others. But if you carry in your heart a spirit of forgiveness and love, your Savior smiles. Swap accusing words with kind words, and watch how the language of love squashes rudeness. And in the process, those who are away from Jesus will be drawn to the Jesus in you.
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).
Heavenly Father, remove rudeness from my conversations, and help me to become fluent in the language of love, through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, amen!
Who will I encounter this holiday season with different views and values? Will I pause and pray to make sure my words are pleasing to the Lord?
Christy Nockels & Janna Long: May The Words Of My Mouth
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