This week I studied the sermon What Are You Thinking? by W. Craig Swick. It's amazing how pertinent this is for me after my experiences last weekend. All quotes are from this talk unless otherwise noted.
"“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but [only] that which is good [and] edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). His words resonate with a certain purity.
What does the phrase “no corrupt communication” mean to you? We all regularly experience highly charged feelings of anger—our own and others’. We have seen unchecked anger erupt in public places. We have experienced it as a sort of emotional “electrical short” at sporting events, in the political arena, and even in our own homes.
Children sometimes speak to beloved parents with tongues as sharp as blades. Spouses, who have shared some of life’s richest and most tender experiences, lose vision and patience with each other and raise their voices. All of us, though covenant children of a loving Heavenly Father, have regretted jumping headlong from the high seat of self-righteous judgment and have spoken with abrasive words before we understood a situation from another’s perspective. We have all had the opportunity to learn how destructive words can take a situation from hazardous to fatal.
A recent letter from the First Presidency states clearly, “The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree”
The writer of Proverbs counsels, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). A “soft answer” consists of a reasoned response—disciplined words from a humble heart. It does not mean we never speak directly or that we compromise doctrinal truth. Words that may be firm in information can be soft in spirit.
The willingness to see through each other’s eyes will transform “corrupt communication” into “minister[ing] grace.” The Apostle Paul understood this, and on some level each of us can experience it too. It may not change or solve the problem, but the more important possibility may be whether ministering grace could change us."
I'm determined to speak softly or not at all from this moment.