Tuesday, December 15, 2009

To Speak or NOT To Speak

This is some what in connection with my last post-"I'm NOT so Smart".

As a friend, father and husband I have many opportunities to either make peoples lives better or worse. Often it is what is said, more than done, that is the thing that changes the outcome. If we perfectly control our tongues we are then perfect people, which means we will never be perfect, but our goal is to be perfect even as Christ is perfect. How can we always say the right things, at the right time and in the right tone, with the right motive and attitude? I can't because I don't continually walk in the Spirit. That makes me difficult to live with.

Recently I had a discussion with a friend of mine; I think we are still friends, but I may have changed the relationship because of something I said. It really is hard to be a good friend- I mean that. There are times I think I should just not say anything, from here on out, because look what me saying something caused. But then I know that as a good friend I need to say something if I know something that they may not know. I have been in more trouble with T for NOT saying something than for saying something.

So as I think about both of my friends- T being my longest friendship- I try to analyze what I should say, how I should say it and in what way to say it. Often I don't have time to answer the question being asked right at the time and I should give some sort of answer or then I will be viewed as being rude.

Here's the question on the most recent relationship challenge. I voiced some concern that I thought might come up in my friends life. I have no proof of what did previously happen, or even if this is something that has a good chance of happening to to them in the future- I just really don't want to see them get hurt. In my saying something it caused my friend to be really anxious- to the point of almost being sick- and that is NOT what I wanted to happen.

There are a couple of obvious things for me to learn from this, but still others I am not sure what to do.
1. I must be walking in the Spirit all the time and if I am not then my words can easily be hurtful.
2. My motive must be not only pure but I must be able to communicate that to the person with whom I am talking.
3. I must know the person well enough- have a good enough relationship- to say hard things to them. "They will not care how much you know until they know that you care".

Are there times when I should just not say anything and just let God take care of it, or are we always to say something if we see something that might be an issue? I have had this happen to me so many times it is not funny. As unobservant as I am, something would be happening and it would hit me as a bit "off" yet I would not say anything and then a month or two or even a year later the issue would come to the surface and I would think, "I totally saw that coming, so why didn't I say anything?"

It is so hard to know the right thing to do, all the time. I want to be a good friend and husband, but I am weak and lazy and often want to take the easy way out and not say anything, because I know that this may cause someone else pain- but it may cause pain if I don't say anything. Catch 22.

I think that my conscience has to be my guide and that the Holy Spirit directs our conscience to say what needs to be said. Not that I think I am a prophet, but they had to say some pretty hard things to some pretty elevated people and they knew what they were supposed to do and if they didn't do it the sin was on their heads.

I want to be an encouragement to others by what I do and say. I think God has placed each one of us here for a unique purpose and maybe that unique purpose is to say hard things to people. Telling a parent that they are not being a good parent is a hard thing to say, but if it changes the family's life because the hard thing was said then it is worth the heart ache.

I am lacking so much in so many areas and only God can give the strength and wisdom for me to do all these things well. May I walk in the Spirit so others may see the good deeds, and words, in my life and glorify the Father who is in Heaven, knowing that there is no way this could come from inside me. I want to be a man after God's own heart and I have a long way to go.

"A man who loves you the most is the man who tells you the most truth about yourself." Robert Murray M'Cheyne


Ryan Hall said...

I am right with you Chuck. That is a hard thing. Jolie and I have talked about it before. "Do I say something or do I not say anything?", "Am I out of place to speak on that", etc....

I can't help but think of Ephesians 4:25-32 when it comes to speaking to others.

"Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 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 do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

The one thing I do know is that I want to speak the true in love. Maybe to pray and meditate on a passage like this might help our own hearts. Normally I feel as if I say the wrong thing at the wrong time. And even at times things said my me have offended others. And you know what I thought about that: If they are offended because I speak the truth then I am ok with that. I can't be a people pleaser.

If I am going to honor and love Christ with my relationships then I will have to speak the hard things. May the Lord grant discretion. Because I do feel there is a way to say hard things. All that we say should be "good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."

I think the best way to gain an ear to listen is when we have been active in others lives. That is when others will either come to us for direction , or counsel on life issues and matters. I think it is easier to speak the truth when others come to us and ask the hard questions. What seems to be real hard for me is speaking the truth when I am not being asked. But wouldn't you think not stepping in and saying the hard things is not loving them?

I think the best thing is to just roll up our sleeves in 2010 and get dirty with the relationships that God has placed in our lives. As we die daily, pour out ourselves for others and depend on God for strength, wisdom and discernment we can become a salt & light to those around us. All the while taking up our cross and striving after Christ in all.

Most of the time I have just been lazy or scared in my relationships to stand up and speak the truth in love for Christ! Reading 1 Peter yesterday, I can't help but think that if we respond with others with gentleness and respect our speaking would go much further then if not done this way. I think regardless of if someone is asking us for the hope that is in us or if we are just sharing the truth....speaking it with gentleness and respect while all done in love is going to make a huge difference.

Think about Luke 14:25-27 which says, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."
If we are not speaking the truth to others, then wouldn't that mean that we are putting human relastionships before our relationship with God? I mean if we are more worried about our relationship with a spouse, child, co-worker, parent, sibling, etc then to speak the truth in love to them, then I would have to think that our actions are saying we value that relationship more then our relationship with Christ!

Chuck Weinberg said...

What if that person is "higher on the food chain" than you are?

Can one of my small group guys say hard things to me?

Ryan Hall said...

I think the answer is a yes, but when the rubber meets the road it usally doesn't happen as much as it should.

Maybe because the response from the person being confronted is not a godly one. We should humble ourselves and think over the things that are brought up. We should be quick to hear, slow to speak. Pride will always get in the way of us holding each other accountable.

I think taking ownership of your small group should include being an active member that helps build each other up, hold each other accountable for our actions, and to pray for each other and that is even with our small group leaders.

It would also depend on what your calling into focus. Somethings should not be made a bigger issue then others. We should all have patience and long-suffering with each other and our wrongs. Pray and let the Holy Spirit do its work in the heart of others. I do believe many try to be the Holy Spirit, rather then pray and be patient and see what God would do.

We will miss out on the blessing of seeing God work when we are always so quick to call another persons wrong into account. It just depends on what that issue is. May the Lord give wisdom and discretion to our hearts and minds when dealing with others.