As we’ve been a bit under the weather for the last few weeks, we’ve been joining a semi-local church online -- Waterbrook Community Church (Scott Smith, Pastor). A couple of weeks ago, in his sermon, he made this plea -- “Don’t just make a point. . .make a difference!” That comment really stuck with me! I have thought about it often since then. I have thought about it as I was scrolling through FB with its anti-Trump posts, its half-time show rants, its posts about the evils of public education, its political sarcasm, its memes, its videos. . . . I wonder -- how many of them make a difference? Or do they just make a point? Do they sound like this scripture?
Psalm 64:2-4 New International Version (NIV)2 Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers.
3 They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.
4 They shoot from ambush at the innocent; they shoot suddenly, without fear.
Or perhaps this one?
1 Timothy 6:3-5 New International Version (NIV)3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
As Christians, too often, I think we are known more for our points than for any difference we make. People can quote what (they think) we believe based on all of our “points”, but have we really done anything to make a difference???? Or have we just sharpened our tongues to make a point?
Here are some guiding questions to think about before we feel COMPELLED to MAKE A POINT . . .
- Are our words GRACIOUS?
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
- Are our words pleasing to God?
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
- Are our words true and without deceit?
21 His talk is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart;
his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.
- Are our words healing?
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
- Are our words wise and restrained?
27 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.
28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.
- Are our words full of poison and cursing or praise?
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
- Are our words pursuing peace?
11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.
The old adage, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” comes to mind. As Jesus-lovers, Christ-followers, disciples (followers/students) of Jesus, people should know how much we CARE. We should be different. Some of us would rather be different with all the things we DON’t do instead of what we DO. What if we flipped it? What if we were known for what we DO? Instead of what we DON’T do? Or instead of what we SAY? Would it make a difference?
Proverbs 18:20-22 New International Version (NIV)20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.
21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Does your tongue promote death? Or life?
Ecclesiastes reminds us there is a time for every purpose. There is a time to stand up for what we believe. There is a time to stand against evil.
But perhaps we need to put our words, our writings, our FB posts, our hearts through this litmus test . . . .does it promote life or death? War or peace? Are you saying/writing your words just to make a point or are you choosing to use words -- and actions -- that truly make a difference?
1 Peter 3:9-11 New International Version (NIV)9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.
Let’s pursue peace -- with our tongues, our writings, our FB posts . . . .Let’s strive to do more than make a point. Let’s work together to make a difference!