Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
I sometimes traffic in them. I bet you do too.
It's this current political season that had me reflecting on this the past few days. Not the politicians themselves.
But the public. Those on the right. Those on the left. Those in between.
All those who claim to have tremendous heart and compassion for the people of this nation. But who then verbally shred each other for different ideas on how to do that.
Whatever side of the aisle we camp on, some of the buzz words are the same. Peace for our nation. Compassion to the needy. Respect for our leaders. The need for change, for improvement, for transformation.
And then we shoot our mouths off, spewing self-righteous venom.
And we justify it.
Because of the 'situation'. And we blow our witness in the doing.
I look at the example of Moses before Pharaoh, Paul before Festus. Jesus before Caiaphas. And Herod. And Pilate.
They did not hedge on the truth. But neither were they self-righteous. Or venomous. Or hateful. They were respectful while being firm. They were willing to say the hard thing without being hard. They allowed the Spirit of God to speak through them, not trafficking in rhetoric. Not bending to the 'situation'.
They were talking about the two things we say make for poor dinner party conversation, religion and politics. They were controversial and they were politically incorrect. But their speech and their hearts were pure. Their testimonies still stand today.
Whatever our politics and concerns and thoughts and strongly held opinions and convictions, may we more strongly hold that our mouths and what pours out of them reveals the condition of our hearts. A person claiming Christ who justifies unwholesome talk because it has to do with politics shows himself a hypocrite. A person claiming Christ who verbally disrespects leaders of this country denies the example of Christ. And a person who believes that the future of this country lies solely in the politics of this country denies the saving power of a God who has foreknown this day and time before one day came to be.
Situational. Ethics. May my heart and mouth match. May they be pure. No matter the 'situation'.