Words aptly spoken.
"Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world, both low and high, rich and poor alike:
My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding."
(Psalm 49:1-3, NIV)
Every morning when I open the blog manager and prepare to offer the latest musing, I notice a dozen posts that I wrote but never published. Those posts represent the times I had been incensed by something in culture and with good intention was going to share my frustration with anyone willing to read the "A Musing Pastor" blog.
Midway through the unloading (spewing anger onto a page) my heart would began to change. I went back and read the words and intention behind them, paused, then read them again. Long story short, there were at least 12 times God had something else in mind. The down side is found in this. I had frustration being poured out onto a blog for others to read and react to. The upside is that I didn't post them. I'm sure some of you are thinking, "only 12?"
How often have we witnessed something outrageous and needed to say or do something in response? I suppose that would be a multitude of times. What would we hope to accomplish by the barrage of our emotions through words? How would God be glorified in our outburst? Would the situation be improved or the person receive constructive guidance. Would there be any evidence of grace in the exchange?
Oh, don't get me wrong, I believe there are times when a gentle rebuke is necessary and prudent. I grew up in a time when 'tough love" was a reality. We still use that flavor of love in our home. It's okay to set boundaries and let those who overstep them understand the consequences for their action. I believe it is okay to hold those out in the public square accountable for their words and actions. Social norms beg for boundaries to be observed and maintained otherwise any behavior would become a 'norm'. A quick review of our culture might reveal a stark reality that social norms are quickly deteriorating. When something doesn't fit our schema, we feel the need to respond.
I will never forget the night we attended a high school football game. Our children were quite young then and I needed to take our son to the restroom. As we walked in, there were 3-4 young teenagers in there spouting profanities and posturing for some sort of altercation. After about 30 seconds of this malarky, I spoke up and said something like, "Hey, this is my son and I don't appreciate your foul language being shouted around in here. Stop it!" To which they became quiet and one boy apologized as they filed out of that place.
Going forward, I seek to be a voice that brings light into a dark place, justice into places of injustice, and hope into places of despair. Weighing my need to say just anything over and against needing to say something of value will be a guiding principle for my eyes, ears, brain, lips, and voice box.
Please, consider my request for you to do the same.