Authenticity and Grace

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.”

Ephesians 4:29

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?

Ephesians 429

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.

Platform danger

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?

3 thoughts on “Authenticity and Grace

  1. This is so good! Thanks for sharing. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, specifically about motherhood and blogging (there is even a post in my draft box that I have been sitting on, doing exactly what you suggest ;)).

    How do I be authentic about life and motherhood without violating my son’s or family’s privacy (especially when he has no option to consent)? Just because something that happened is cute or funny or a hard situation that others can relate to, doesn’t necessarily mean that I should share it.

    I’ve been finding that it takes a lot of prayer and discernment, and erring on the side of caution when it comes to online stuff–especially now that I have expanded my blog a little bit beyond close friends and family.

    Love your suggestions above, and I would also had for blog posts to have a close friend or spouse or whatever read some ones before you hit “Publish”

    1. Yes, I have a feeling motherhood is going to add a whole new dimension to this authenticity and grace goal for the blog. Like you said, it takes a lot of prayer and discernment with all of this online stuff.

      I totally agree with your suggestion to have someone read through your posts before publishing. Normally I have Tim do that but I haven’t been good about doing that lately.

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