Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
This is part two in the series, 3 Things To Learn From Awkward Interactions. If you missed part one, you can find it here.
2. We thoughtlessly hurl words into conversation with little to no thought for how they’ll be received.
In this scenario, said yammerer doesn’t care—or is too ignorant to understand—how his or her words will affect other people. Either way, it’s not a good relational place to find oneself in.
If this describes you, ask:
- Do I lack empathy or concern for others? Do I really only care about myself?
- Have I been thoughtless about the weight and power my words carry to harm and wound?
The first scenario matters because self-centeredness is antithetical to the Gospel.
Jesus came serving us rather than requiring service of us (Mark 10:45). This is a crucial component of the Gospel because:
Jesus doesn’t get anything from us he can’t get better from the Father and the Spirit. Our God is self-sufficient, so within the Trinity there is mutual love, appreciation, reverence, and respect. God’s relationship with himself is the perfect image of relationship period. This means Jesus didn’t step into human history to take something from us, but to give what only he can give… A relationship with Jesus is the only non-exploitative relationship possible.
That’s a big deal.
Just as Jesus served us over serving himself—even when he was entitled to being served—we should seek to serve others by caring about them and not just ourselves.
The second scenario matters as well, but perhaps for a less obvious reason.
You see, if we’re thoughtless about the weight our words carry to annoy or even wound, we’re also clueless about the power our words hold to encourage and heal, as well.
If you don’t realize how your words hurt, you’re doomed to missing the boat on how they help.
This, too, is a big deal.
Paul encourages us to “walk in wisdom” toward non-christians by speaking grace-filled words “seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:5-6).
When we pepper conversation with thoughtless words we leave little room for grace.
Is your speech seasoned with salt, or peppered with thoughtlessness?
Tomorrow, we’ll consider the third thing these interactions reveal.
This series is adapted from a post originally appearing on Jordan’s blog, which you can follow here.