I said, “I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue.”
Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.
I will have the opportunity today to speak words to people for whom I have great respect and love. I will also have opportunity to speak about some people today for whom I have few warm fuzzies. Part of that has to do with the context of my interactions these next two days. I will be at the national convention of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In the elections yesterday for the board of directors of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), I was not re-elected. I learned about this from Rich Robertson, the CEO of the LECF who sent me a kind message, expressing his sadness at my exit from the board.
This is a little thing. There are much more grave situations in which words can have huge impact: the memorial service for the slain Dallas police officers yesterday offered such an opportunity. I especially appreciated this report from a friend of (former) President George Bush’s comment: “Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.” I’m certain there were others who spoke words that build up and give grace to those who hear.
I’m hoping I can keep this in mind today. Whether in the heat of political argument, the debate of theological issues, or the challenging moments of personal conflicts, our words have power to hurt or to heal. Our calling as sons and daughters of God is to speak the truth in love, and build one another up in our faith and holy calling.