Things That Go Without Saying part 7 Justifying the Means

"And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on." (Luke 7:40)

Saying what we mean

Sometimes things come out of our mouths we had no intention of saying. Have you ever done that? You think before you speak, sure. But then when you actually do, the words don't quite mesh with the thoughts behind them and you feel your point is lost. Or at least not communicated precisely as it should have been. It was on the tip of your tongue! And yet the person to whom you were speaking doesn't fully realize the significance of what you were trying to express. They don't know this though and hopefully it's nothing that can't be remedied with a little verbal revision. But there are times in our life—and conversations in which we interlocute—that only give us one chance to get it right. Here's a good guideline:

"Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." (Colossians 4:6)

People are complex. More often than not, we just interact with them at arm's length. If, somehow we are graced with a deeper friendship than that of the cursory kind, it behooves us to say exactly what we mean to say—colored, spiced, seasoned, as Paul so deftly put it—with salt. Now, granted, Paul might have been referring to the winsome proselytization of those who weren't Christian, but there's no one on this earth we know everything about. Ourselves included. This makes things interesting. Interesting in spite of the inherent opportunities to both offend or build up those with whom we interact. Believer or non. And when life boils down to irreducible complexity, without the oil of the Holy Spirit to smooth interactions, we very well may miss out on opportunities to say what we mean. Who knows? Maybe those thoughts swirling around in your head and heart—the ones to which you were struggling to attach the correct words—were from God? Say what you mean, just make sure you run it by God first. He'll help you say the right thing. "...Master, say on."

Saying what we don't realize is demeaning

"But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." (Matthew 5:37, emphasis mine)

Excuse me? Jesus is referring here to interaction with anyone and everyone. But look at this in light of speaking to those we love. Paul lists "foolish talking" and "jesting" as things that are "not convenient" (Ephesians 5:3) when living out the Christian life. There's a time and a place for silliness. But acting that way when a situation calls for a graver directness will end in offending and potentially alienating our audience and possibly marring our testimony. When you earn someone's trust, it's of utmost value and importance. Solomon says this: "As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?" I was just joking! Not beyond a certain point you weren't, I'm sorry to say.

Saying what we know is mean

"O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things." (Matthew 12:34-35, emphasis mine)

So watch what you say. The few words we say (in relation to the number of thoughts we think) represent—and also belie—entire philosophies and vast constructs of interlocking opinions that would look quite odd if seen in all their glory. While some people's hearts and minds are like well-oiled machines that work flawlessly, others' are like the Cloaca in New York, essentially a giant cesspool/sewer/waterway that's been layered upon for years with the refuse of the city. Jesus says that the words we speak flow from our heart. Best to heed His words and say nothing until we have something nice to say.

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63) May the same be said for us.

"...for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost". (Mark 13:11)