Vaccine mandates. Exiting Afghanistan. Critical race theory. Black Lives Matter. Gender identity.
Hot-button topics are in abundance these days. The water cooler conversations about the weather are often replaced by topics that many of us have strong opinions about.
Are we navigating these waters in a way that pleases God?
A few weeks ago, I visited with some friends, and not surprisingly, the discussion soon centered on COVID-19. As usual, I did more listening than talking. That’s not from self-discipline; I’m just quieter than most. I remember listening to the guys share how the virus was impacting things at work and at school.
The conversation continued, and a question came to my mind: how should the Christian approach discussions about COVID-19? Surely there is a right and wrong way to engage in the coronavirus conversations, as well as other topics that concern us.
Several years ago, I read an article by a songwriter that struck me as something to place in my mind’s permanent folder; something worthy of recalling from time to time. She said that she felt a great responsibility to steward language like she would money or time.
Her idea of stewarding language served as a speed bump to cause me to slow down and think about stewardship as it applied to words.
Anyone who has been in church very long has heard sermons on stewardship. It’s good to be reminded that our money is not our own or that we should be good stewards of the talents and gifts the Lord has given us. Maybe there should be sermons on the stewardship of words.
I am challenged by the thought that we are to be stewards of our words. Just like we are cautious about what we do with our money and our time, doesn’t it make sense that we should be equally as aware of the words that sprint from our mouths?
Let’s explore two familiar verses that might prove to be good thought starters for us on this subject. The first verse is in the book of Psalms. David writes:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14).
This “man after God’s own heart” wanted his words to be acceptable in God’s sight. We can apply that to our conversations about sometimes contentious subjects. May our words be acceptable to our God.
The apostle Paul taught the Colosse believers what their conversations should look like, and God preserved it for you and me to apply to our lives:
Your speech must always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt so that you will know how you should respond to each person (Colossians 4:6 NASB).
So, God wanted the speech of the Colosse believers (and our speech) to “always be with grace.”
Grace - unmerited favor - should be that thread that runs through all our conversations including that coronavirus exchange around the water cooler.
These are difficult days. There is much on people’s minds, and they’re often quick to vocalize it.
As followers of Christ, let’s be faithful to enter those conversations with grace-laden words that are “acceptable in your sight, O LORD (Psalm 19:14).”