When I was a freshman in highschool, being sarcastic was the way my friend and I talked. We knew that anything we said we actually meant the opposite. We thought it was funny and it became a way of life.
Then one day we went to a slumber party. It was a youth group slumber party and there was a new girl there. She had never been to our church or youth group before. She was beautiful. Seriously, gorgeous. She had on the most pretty shade of blue I'd ever seen and her shirt and her fingernails and her eyes matched. I was impressed. I, being super friendly, walked up to her and boldly informed her "That shade of blue so does not look good on you." Meaning the opposite of what I said, obviously. Only, she didn't know I was being sarcastic.
That is not the way to earn a friend. I was never able to overcome that horrible first impression that I made on her or apologize enough. She rarely came back to visit along with another friend and when she did, she would never speak to me.
I was convicted. The next day I went home and began a study on the power of our words and how our words should sound as followers of Christ.
"Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, 'I was only joking!'" Eccles. 26:18-19 NIV
How true that was to me that day.
"Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving." Eph 5:4 NIV
What was roughly 95 percent of the conversation in our friend group? Innuendos, silliness, sarcasm, crude jokes. And we called ourselves Christians!
"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
My my my. I knew I had been wrong, and I needed to put a guard over my mouth. "ONLY what is helpful for building others up." The Bible also says we will be judged for every careless word we speak. So, I needed to take captive every thought and choose wisely to make the most of every opportunity for the the days are evil. I should not be like those of the world but be careful that my words build up and bring life.
Since that time, it has pained me deeply when I hear Christians bashing other Christians especially from the pulpit. Even when they are doing it in jest and "everyone knows they are teasing". The Bible says we will be known as Christians by our love. How does love shine through better? In teasing tear downs or in honoring build ups?
How can we immulate "-the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not." Ro 4:17 NIV
Why do we so often find the one negative thing we see in someone's life and promote that instead of honoring and promoting the 99 good things about that person. Even if 99 percent of someone's life is negative, what would happen if we pulled out the one percent that is positive and honor and promote that so they will desire to become more of that?
"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sinʼs deceitfulness." Heb 3:13 NIV
Let's raise the bar and "Do everything in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14.
Maria heard God calling at age three when she first heard the story of the boy Samuel in the temple. She has grown up in the Lord and continues to grow in relationship with Him to this day.
When you wake up in the morning, do you look at your bank account, your day planner and the gas tank, watch the news and make your decisions of what to do for the day? Or do you get up and look to the Maker of Heaven and Earth and ask Him what He has for you this day?
If God calls you to it- He will equip you for it and provide for the call! He won't ask you to do something you can't do. He will enable you! We can do all things through Christ!