There has been a lot of talk about free speech over the weekend. Whether referencing the protests of a large number of NFL players or the comments of the president of the United States, our nation has once again proven to be very polarized. And while arguments abound, Christians will seek to find a biblical balance in areas of patriotism, respect for all, empathy, compassion, understanding, and common sense.
I thank God for the freedoms we enjoy, especially the freedom of speech and expression. I disagree with the logic of appearing to protest what is good and wholesome when one has issues with other areas of concern. I question the wisdom and strategy of offending those who have fought and lost comrades so that we can enjoy the freedom of speech. Surely there is an approach that unites us rather than further dividing us.
But that is not the point of this post. There is another issue for Christians, regardless of the side we take on issues.
The TONE of our speech and the language we use are just as important as the issues we address.
Consider these commands from Scripture:
“Your speech should always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.” (Colossians 4:6 HCSB)
Grace is unmerited favor. Salt speaks of palatable influence. We should address those with whom we disagree with a gracious tone, better than we think they deserve. And then we should add some salt (palatable influence) to our words with the desire to be winsome even when speaking a word of confrontation and conviction.
Grace. Better than they deserve. ALWAYS. Wow! Whether you are speaking about the president or speaking as the president, that is God’s standard. This means genuine Christ-followers will often have to take a higher road than either side in many arguments… by seeking to change the tone of the conversation.
I feel certain that all kinds of foul language and malicious tones will be used to describe the president of the United States. And, without a doubt, President Trump will continue to use language and tones that I would have spanked my kids for using. The world we live in is quite, well, worldly.
But dear friends and fellow believers, as we seek to find the biblical balance on so many hot topics at hand let us no forget the warning from our Lord:
“I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak.” (Matthew 12:36 HCSB)