In a day and society where short conversations, blogs, Facebook, twitter and controversy practically run our lives, how do we as Christian leaders balance our words in a God Honoring way? Let’s talk about it…
It seems that controversy is the bug word. One thing is posted or said and immediately taken the “wrong” way and thus a huge conversation begins, sometimes getting down right nasty. Usually, controversy was not the intent of the comment, in fact from what I see, a lot of times a well-meaning thought is taken to whole new meaning and level based on what, how, and through “what colored glasses?” a person reads the post, or heard the comment.
So how in the world do leaders balance this tricky “Facebook” world? How do we learn to speak when needed and keep our mouths shut at the appropriate times? Of course, you guessed it – Grace. Grace Divine enablement: “The God-given desire and ability to accomplish Hs will with joy”/
- Don’t be rude.
It is God’s will that we honor and love one another. A harsh word of correction on its own does not usually produce a whole lot of Good fruit… I know from experience. But a word of correction seasoned with Grace is always easier to receive. Let your words be out of a motivation of love. Do not give in to tendencies to be harsh, rude, reactionary, overbearing, “I’m in charge here” attitude, but instead have a “customer service”, responding mindset. Be polite. Help others. Speaking the “harsh” truth in love is best done in private and after lots of prayer.John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must loveone another. John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Galatians 5:12-14 serve one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love. love one another deeply, from the heart 1 Peter 3:8 [ Suffering for Doing Good ] Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
Go personally, message personally when something starts to get personal. As soon as it is taken offensively by either you or the other party… STOP. Delete. Get to the bottom of it and just plain forgive them. A public rebuke is not needed! Too many people will mistake your words and read into the whole situation. Do not bread contention. Psalm 80:6 You have made us a source of contention to our neighbors, and our enemies mock us. A private rebuke will be received much better if seasoned with love and out of a heart of compassion. Love covers. love publicly. defend yourself privately.[Philippians 2:2-5]3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 1 Peter 4:8
He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Be united with your leadership.
Guard each other. Do everything you can to NOT “throw each other under the bus”. If your belief or opinion does not line up with your church, your pastor, your co-laborer in the ministry, your authority… Keep your mouth shut, or else you are undermining the authority in your life. If you have an issue or a source of contention, go directly to the leader or friend. Truth is: we may not come to a decision to change our opinion, but we always submit our opinion publicly to promote unity. If you cannot submit your opinion to your leader, then you don’t really trust that leader. Always submit to biblical principles… let your opinions and strategies be flexible.
What about debate? Is there is a time and place for debate?… the truth is that most people who follow you cannot handle your debate and it may cause them to doubt God, their leaders and your leadership. Let your debates over issues be private and with those who know your character and love you.
1 Timothy 4:12
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
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.
Philippians 4:5-7 (New International Version)5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
There are soooo many more scriptures in the bible that have to do with our mouth, our speech, our attitudes and our tongue that would challenge us in this same line of thought. These points are not all-inclusive of how we should be in this day and age, but rather a few thoughts on it. I am still learning myself… and bringing you along in the process.
I believe that if we can be seasoned with Grace in this “Facebook world”, we will be able to accomplish with success the call on our lives as we shepherd the flock.
Please comment me if you have any thoughts on this. :o)