Balances of Speech
By Dan Qurollo
Words have a unique power, the greatness of which is seldom considered. In fact, the power of words far exceeds a person’s physical strength. The irony of the power of words is that the physically weakest individual is capable of the greatest damage by the words he uses and the manner in which he uses them.
At times, we read of examples in which words were chosen wisely and made a tremendous impact upon the hearers. At other times, words were not chosen wisely and made a negative impact upon the hearers. This reality is evidenced throughout biblical and secular history.
Often, a person who embraces extreme positions errors. This is true theologically as well as practically. One of the areas that must still be properly balanced is our speech. Sound speech properly balances three tensions.
To begin, sound speech balances the accuracy of content with the spirit of delivery. Titus was instructed by Paul to exemplify “sound speech, that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:8a). In this particular verse, Paul did not address the content of the message. The focus of verse 8 is on how the message is communicated. Paul states that the word is to be sound. In other words, the method of communication is to be healthy so that it might make its desired impact.
A person can be right in the content of his message and still be ineffective in his communication of that message. Lest you think this only applies to preachers, you most likely know someone who is unsaved. You know the content of what needs to be said; but if you wish for that message to truly be effective, you must learn to communicate that content with the proper demeanor. Accuracy of content is of little value without a proper demeanor of delivery.
Sound speech also balances the graciousness of character with the perception of need. Colossians 4:6 teaches, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Since this is to be done at all times, the clear expectation is that God never permits even a single moment of speech that is ungracious. Nowhere does the Bible ever permit an individual to vent, fly off the handle, or say whatever comes to mind. Each of those exhibits a lack of self-control, something that should never characterize us. Gracious speech is to characterize us at all times.
Finally, sound speech balances the issues of the temporal with the reality of the eternal. The latter part of Colossians 4:6 establishes the reason for sound speech: “that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” If our speech is not characterized by graciousness and is not seasoned with salt, we are a hindrance to the spread of the gospel. Our mouth contradicts what we claim to believe about Jesus Christ and the transformative power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, much of our speech is focused on the wrong thing. We would rather make our point than disciple a believer. We would rather be right than be certain someone is right with God. We would rather give them a piece of our minds than the message of salvation. We would rather prove our point than demonstrate God’s love.
Let’s determine to choose our words carefully to make the greatest impact for God.
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