“For lack of wood the fire goes out,
and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.”
“We urge you, brothers, to [love one another] more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.” 1 Thessalonians 4:10-11
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear…And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 4:29, 5:2
These verses may seem a bit disjointed…but as I contemplated Proverbs 26:20, God brought these other passages to mind. And I began to reflect on the importance of our words in our daily interactions.
The only words we are to speak are those which are good for building up those around us. We are to be mindful of what each occasion calls for and speak accordingly. In each conversation, our desire should be to give grace to those who hear what we say. When our focus is encouraging and building up those to whom—and about whom—we are speaking, when our desire is to pour out grace and to benefit whoever hears us, the love of Christ will be seen in us.
It is a call to die to ourselves, once again. Because many times, choosing to live quietly, to mind our own affairs, to only speak that which builds up and strengthens others, to show grace, and to not respond to one seeking to quarrel with you, means that we must sacrifice our pride. We must sacrifice the part of us that wants to get involved in everyone else’s business so they do what we think they should. We must sacrifice the nature within us that seeks to vent anger and frustration on any willing to listen.
If we live a life of grace and choose to walk in love, peace begins to reign within our heart. Because we no longer get all worked up about what all is going on around us. There are times to take a stand for what is right, to point others back to righteousness as we speak the truth in love, but there are also times when our place is to live quietly and peaceably and trust God with the rest. Especially if all our talk will get us is fighting, dissension, and the tearing down of those who listen to our words.
Let us live as a fragrant offering to our God. An offering of our lives that is pleasing to Him because it shows our faith and our love for Him, which is expressed in our love and respect for those around us. People aren’t always going to treat us right or do what we think they should. But our actions, our words, are measured against the love and grace shown to us by our Lord. So let us make that our measure. Let us seek to give grace in our every word.
Lord, it’s so easy to get drawn in to the negativity that surrounds us. And to not even see when our words, our thoughts, our actions become corrupted by the world. I pray that the Word of Christ would dwell in us richly. That Your Spirit would continue Your great work to transform our hearts and cultivate Your character within us. May we be so filled with Your grace and focused on Your glory that it is grace that pours out of us. Strengthen us to lay aside our pride. Open our eyes to the ways we have allowed ourselves to be influenced by darkness, and empower us to overcome it. May we seek to only ever give grace to those who hear and read our words, to strengthen the weak, encourage the weary, and build each other up in love.