Peace – Prayer – Joy – Love
People Talking

To Cut or To Comfort

  1. Riddles, Science, & Philosophy
    1. Riddle:We hurt without moving. We poison without touching. We bear the truth & the lies. We are not to be judged by our size. What are we? … Words
    2. Science:TED talk about how the language we speak shapes the very way we perceive the world around us at a fundamentally core level.
    3. Philosophy:Wittgenstein, Augustine & other philosopher/theologian had profound things to say about the source & power of our words.
  2. The Weight Of Our Words
    1. Life in the family involves talking because we care about each other.
    2. Talking can lead to gossip or other harmful/toxic talk.
    3. An example within the life of our own family/congregation: Vacation rumor that I’d been fired & another pastor had started here.
      Old rumor that Megan was taking over the preschool. Poor Chris.
  3. What James Has To Say About The Tongue & Words
    1. No one can tame the tongue … with it we bless the Lord and Father,
      and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.

      From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.
      My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.
    2. Even though James makes a claim in this Scripture passage that’s untrue, “every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed & has been tamed by the human species.”What he says about the tongue (our words) is profoundly true, and his caution to us is equally wise.
    3. We ought to be concerned that we praise God with the same tongue that we also use to condemn those made in the image of God.
  4. An Example of Helpful & Hurtful Words w/Jesus & Peter
    1. Peter’s words are helpful in answering Jesus’ most important question.
    2. Peter’s words are hurtful in responding to Jesus talk of what’s to come.
    3. In 1 person & 1 passage, we see words used in helpful & hurtful ways.
  5. Some Helpful Tips When Speaking Words
    1. As one famous leader & author, Roboute Guilliman, challenges his own brothers, let us also consider the ‘practical’ along w/the ‘theoretical’.
    2. Martin Luther’s explanation of the 8thCommandment:Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. What does this mean?—Answer:
      We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.
    3. Gossip is when you’re talking to someone who can’t help the situation;
      First ask yourself, “Does this person have the means/position to help?”
    4. Talk TO people, not ABOUT people. At the Ministers’ Convocation last spring: “We don’t talk about people who are not in the room.”
    5. Before you say something, run it through the “Three Gates”;
      Is it True (do we KNOW it’s true?), Is it Necessary, & Is it Kind?
    6. Let us recognize the profound weight of our words & let us heed what Scripture & Jesus say to us about using them to comfort & not to cut.


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