Watch your mouth

We really need to learn to be careful with our words.

Most words are important and tend to get thrown around flippantly. And, I don’t mean  just the bad ones.

Criticism, condemnation, cursing all cut deeply. Even if the hard to hear words were not spoken with malicious intent.

For example, I got to play bass with our worship team at a children’s camp a couple weeks ago. It was so much fun and the kiddos were totally into it. There were a couple of days I was really feeling it, and loved saying, “I’m with the band.”

But, one day in the lunch line this precious little 4th grade girl asked me, “Why are you so old and the rest of the band is, like, teenagers and stuff?”

She didn’t mean a thing by it, but I have done at least a 1,000 sit ups since then. Pass the Rogaine, please!

I think its obvious we need to watch what we say when negativity (intentional, or unintentional) comes tumbling out of our sound holes like a devastating mudslide. But, that’s not what I’m writing about.

I think we, especially believers, need to be careful how we use our words, even in a positive sense.

For example, watching the NBA playoffs… by the way… you did hear that the Dallas Mavericks are world champions… MMMMAAAAVVVVEEEERRRRIIIICCCCKKKKSSSS!!!!

Pardon me, getting back to the original thought, watching the NBA playoffs I have innumerable times seen a Bible-believing, Jesus-trusting professional athlete give a court side interview and thank Jesus for the win, or give glory to God.

But, have you ever heard an interview from the losing locker room where some dejected, defeated athlete asks, “Why does Jesus hate me?”

Or, worse yet, have you heard an athlete give glory to God in a halftime interview and them watch them mouth the F-bomb half way through the third quarter.

We need to watch our words.

No one is perfect, nor can we expect them to be, so, let me cut these athletes a little slack.

Still, let’s take it one step deeper.

At that very same camp where I as in the band, something ridiculously wierd happened. Right on the main walkway, a seemingly perfectly healthy tree, with very little wind dropped a massive branch.

It was thunderous. It was impressive. It was scary. It was during Bible Study… so only wayward sponsors who weren’t doing anything important were around to see it.

It was the talk of the camp and everyone made a trip down to see it, and gawk at the carnage roped off waiting for a chainsaw team.

On my first trip to ground zero I heard someone say, “I’m so thankful there weren’t any kids around when this fell.”

To this I responded, “Well, they haven’t actually moved the tree yet, so… keep your fingers crossed…”

Again, I should watch my words more closely… and figure out what particular dysfunction I suffer from that gives me that sense of humor.

While there was a lot of talk about the tree, and there were some phrases that got repeated again and again. One was dominant: “No one got hurt, isn’t God good.”

You know, the knee jerk Christian response to that statement is, “Amen!”

But for some reason… it was unsettling to me.

What if the tree had landed on someone? What if there had been an injury? What if it was the worst?

Would that mean that God was not good? Would that make God indifferent, mean or even evil?

When we judge the quality and character of the God of the universe based on our evaluation of life’s circumstances, we are basically ignoring the Bible.

Jesus said:

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. – Mark 5:44-45

It’s quite clear that Jesus teaches that both good and bad happen to both the good and the bad.

When we use our words to set up a theological system and train our children that God is good when we win, when we prosper, when were safe, we are inherently saying that God is not good when we lose, when we suffer, when we are harmed.

It’s tough to keep this perspective, but God is good… all the time. The world is difficult and full of hurts. I don’t beleive there is an adequate response/answer to every atrocity of life. But, there are some constants… God’s goodness is one of those constants.

It’s hard to see and impossible to feel, but God’s goodness is not dependent on our approval of what He does in our circumstances.

Let’s be careful with our words, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Words matter.

 

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