This quality of mine is not always a positive. I sometimes have a tendency to not think before I speak or to knowingly choose to use words that I know will cut. For years, I clung onto this quality, declaring that I was "just being honest" and "it's just part of my personality." We talk about the danger of bottling up emotions and encourage each other to "give him a piece of your mind!" Who cares if you're rude as long as you're being honest? Right?
I got thinking about this topic in light of the whole Chick-Fil-A debacle. I'm so weary of it. One thing I noticed was the complete lack of an ability to communicate a differing opinion with grace. In trying to be honest, we've become quite simply...rude. And we don't have a right to rudeness. We don't have the right to throw out words with little to no regard for the feelings of others. We don't have the right to honesty at the cost of kindness. We don't have the right to give full reign to our anger and let the words spew from an bitter, resentful heart.
Just because something is "part of your personality" does not make it right. I hate to break it to you, but you're a sinner. There are things about you that are wrong. There are ways that you behave that are wrong. You may have a bent in a particular direction but you're not required to indulge your natural tendency. I'll give you another example from my own life. I am an introvert. Quite frankly, this means that I don't always like to be around people. I freak out when my extroverted, social butterfly of a husband, spontaneously invites people for dinner (and by "spontaneously", I really mean "3 full days ahead of time"). I want to mentally prepare to have to talk to people. Ok, so, I'm introverted. That doesn't mean I'm allowed to be unhospitable. Why not? Well, because I'm told to...
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (Rom 12:13)
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Sometimes we have to rise above our personalities and recognize that a natural bent can be sinful. Here's what we do:
Many of the problems we experience when talking with one another emerge from the fact that we have usurped the authority of God: we say what we want to say, when and how we want to say it. We speak as if we are in charge and as if we have the right to use words to advance our purpose, and to achieve what would make us happy.However...
We are not free to handle difficulties in whatever way seems best to us. When we are wronged, the thing of highest importance is not that we feel satisfied or avenged, but that we respond according to God's plan and for his glory.What should we do?
When it comes to communication, my job is to speak in a way that pleases the One who is ruling the very moment in which I am speaking.Using our honesty in a sinful way permeates many of our marriages. Our husband forgets our anniversary and we feel the need to berate him and accuse him of not loving us. He makes a financial decision we don't agree with and so we feel the need to continually remind him of how wrong you think he is. You and your husband don't agree on parenting situations, so you start to think he's a fool and mock him behind his back to your friends. But hey! That's just how you feel so it must be ok, right? God actually says a lot about this. Here's a few examples:
But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. (Gal 5:15 ESV)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Eph 4:29 NIV)
I don't think that God wants us to be dishonest or to lack authenticity by hiding our personal opinions. But I do think He wants every single one of us to recognize His authority over even our words. All of us could afford to be radically more sensitive in determining the effect of our words. Don't stand on your perceived rights. Just try to speak right to the glory of God.
**All quotes apart from Scripture are from War of Words, by Paul David Tripp. I highly recommend this book as an excellent book on communication.**
Sharing with: NOBH, Life in Bloom, Thoughtful Thursday, Thought Provoking Thursday, Beholding Glory, Your Thriving Family, Consider the Lilies