Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Maybe it’s because of some thoughts I was having just this morning – ugly, judgmental, critical thoughts – that these words from Paul hit an unusually tender (and sore) part of my soul. As I read them over and over, digesting the truth and rebuke I found there, I had to swallow hundreds of justifications rising to the surface from my sinful heart. What if those “unwholesome words” were witty or true or honest or smart-sounding?
I want very desperately to find the loop hole so I don’t have to acknowledge the dirt in my mouth, so I can still spew my opinion – whether out loud or not – without consideration of others. My words aren’t always seasoned, weighed, considered, prayed over, and tested. Sometimes my words are reactionary. I can barely keep my mouth closed until someone else is done speaking because I want to chime in, be heard, be the one who said what everyone else wanted, or could have said, first. Other times I give what hasn’t been asked for. I haven’t considered “the need of the moment” and I spew forth for the sake of contributing.
I can write without considering the need of the moment, too. That’s the danger with any sort and size of platform – be it a blog, a small group, social media accounts, or close friendships. It’s just so easy to speak and share without pausing.
As I’ve been making changes and refining this blog, authenticity and transparency have continued to be major goals. However, authenticity in one’s writing and online presence (and personal life) comes with quite the challenge – being honest while still offering edification and grace. In my efforts to be vulnerable and honest, I don’t always let the Spirit be my copy editor, allowing His fatal red lines to make my sentences more full of love.
With the last few weeks of 2013 and the expanse of 2014 ahead of me, I am purposing to steep my words and writing in grace and to consider what is needed in the moment. Some practical steps I’m going to take to do this:
- Take time to consider the motivation behind my words. If that means I remain silent or miss the opportunity to speak, so be it.
- Wait a few seconds before I would normally respond to hear my ideas from the other person’s perspective.
- Let some posts sit in drafts while I let my Copy Editor do His fine tuning.
- Memorize Ephesians 4:29 so that I have an ever present reminder to consider the grace factor of my words and writing.
How do you balance authenticity and grace in your life and platforms?