If You Can't Say Something Nice...

Remember that old saying most of us learned as kids?  

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

I’ve been thinking about the words we use towards each other in the church.  Words are powerful and should be chosen carefully.  And in thinking through words I’ve used myself, I’ve been convicted, knowing that sometimes I don’t use language that “builds up.” (1 Thessalonians 10:11 - Therefore encourage one another and build one another up) 

We often get so comfortable with one another that we joke in ways that are sarcastic.  I know much of the time this is harmless play, and the people involved laugh and don’t think anything of it.  But do you know what the synonyms of “sarcastic” are? — biting, cutting, mordant, bitter, derisive, ironic, sardonic.  Not really an encouraging practice.  And what about the people not directly in the conversation, but may be listening and not understand that the remarks are made in jest?

A phrase that I’ve heard a lot in the church is “iron sharpens iron.”  This is scriptural and usually used in the context of spurring one another on to good deeds.  But sometimes unhealthy criticism can be given or judgmental comments made with the excuse that we’re “making each other better.” Often these comments are a reflection of personal preference or opinion and do nothing to help us in following Jesus.

So, just a small thought today.  Be encouraging.  Be kind.  Be humble. Be patient. Build each other up. It’s what God asks of us…

Colossians 3:12-17  - 12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.