When we were on our western adventure we saw this sign in South Dakota, and it brought quite a few chuckles for several days. “My winter fat is gone; now I have Spring rolls!”
While a Dead End sign is not unique, its placement across the street from a cemetery caused us to stop and think. Yes, the cemetery really is the ultimate dead end, at least until the Lord returns!
When we were in Grand Junction, Colorado, we found a lovely scene with sheep on the grassy field in a cul-de-sac with a “one way” sign showing the direction of traffic. I thought to my self, “yes, there is only one way and that is to become a sheep in the Lord’s flock.”
Words – they sometimes say something silly, sometimes something profound. They can be misunderstood and they can be clarifying. But words always have an affect on the hearer.
Jesus understood this well. In Matthew we read this about the Pharisees who were taunting Jesus:
“Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.“Matthew 22:15-16
What followed after these two verses was the question about marriage in heaven, specifically about the man who died and his wife was the wife of his six brothers, all without children. So, whose wife was she in heaven?
The point for this post, however, is not the question nor the response Jesus gave. It is what the Pharisees said as a preface to their question:
“we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.”
When we speak of our Lord, do we do what the Pharisees said Jesus did? Are we true in our dealings with others? Do we teach others of God truthfully and without shading our teaching to be sure we don’t offend or run roughshod over someone’s feelings. Are we swayed by appearances?
I cannot answer these questions for you. I can only say that I have to repent and ask the Holy Spirit to give me the confidence, compassion and conviction to speak of the Lord without shading the truth, without adjusting the message to the audience seeking approval of man rather than approval of God.
I certainly do not mean that we should speak without consideration of the difficulties others are experiencing or without consideration of where others are in their faith journey. Being rude and callous is not the way of our Lord. Seeking to shock others is not the way of the Lord. He was humble and filled with compassion for others. When He answered the Pharisees it was to expose their hypocrisy – they were after all trying to entrap Him in His own words.
So, how do you speak? What do you say? Are you truthful when you speak? Are you oblivious to the station, rank or wealth of the person to whom you are speaking?
Does our speech reflect our Lord and Savior? And if not, why not!
Father, so often I try to make my point by focusing on the minutiae rather than on You. Let me hear the Holy Spirit and let me be guided by His words so that what people hear when I speak is You. Enable me to be more and more like Jesus in my walk and especially in my speech.