23 May Gotcha!
When I was young there was a popular commercial about razors on TV. It featured men and women going about their usual way of daily shaving, when all of a sudden— Gotcha! —the razor would cut them, and they would wince in visible, marked pain.
This old commercial has come back to my mind because of some of the Ezer teaching I’ve been learning. During the A Woman’s Words study, we have discussed a filtering principle which challenges you to ask yourself three questions before engaging in a dialogue with someone else:
- Is it true?
- Is it necessary?
- Is it kind?
I have to say, the application of this filter to my words has not only called to mind the silly razor commercial, it truly has cut to the core of my pride and heightened my self-awareness.
Is it true? I consider myself to be a pretty truthful person. When I show a tendency to be untruthful, it is usually by not speaking truth versus saying something that is not true. But since not speaking truth is as sinful as speaking untruth, then much of the time I am nicked by the filter before a word even comes out of my mouth! The question “Is it true?” also makes me consider whether what I want to say only seems true to me or if it is indeed objective, biblical truth. Jesus, when He returns to earth, gives Himself the title “Faithful and True.” He is what’s true. How do my words compare with His? Would He ever say some of the things that I say to those around me?
Jesus gives Himself the title “Faithful and True.” He is what’s true. How do my words compare with His?
Is it necessary? It’s all too easy to believe my words are necessary. It’s easy to let my opinions and emotions validate the words I speak to others. If being made in God’s image means that I am created to speak into others’ lives, then the self-righteous origin of much of my speech needs to be cut out by the filter of asking “Is it necessary?” How will I know, unless I understand how God sees the situation? How could I know unless I have studied what He’s already said about it in His Word? If I’m not spending time with Him, chances are that my view of necessity doesn’t align with His.
If I’m not spending time with Him, chances are that my view of necessity doesn’t align with His.
Is it kind? Gotcha! This one gets me the most. When I ponder God’s kindness and goodness, it’s clear how far I am from His standard. I’ve known many people who have a natural kindness about them. Their words encourage and bestow a sense of peace. Oh, how I wish to be more like them!
Here’s what I know to be true: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:16)
In college I studied art and design, and often my teachers would emphasize the importance of the “negative space” in a piece of art. The part of the picture which doesn’t have the brightest color or most dramatic visual imagery is necessary to the integrity, beauty, and balance of the entire picture. 1 Timothy 1:16 encourages us all that, despite our shortcomings or areas where we struggle with our speech, a mighty God has chosen to show us mercy. Through Christ, He put His resurrection power into us. He invites us to be a part of His self-portrait masterpiece. Our “negative space” highlights His majesty and power, which is made perfect in our weakness. He created us for His pleasure and His glory. He is true. He is necessary. He is kind. And He is faithful to those who seek to follow in His ways.
Lord, may these truths about You give us the motivation and encouragement to examine our speech through the filter of truth, necessity, and kindness. Help us to remember that You can see the bigger picture, and we can trust You with the outcome of conversations based on these principles. Amen.
Kathy is often amused by God’s creativity and timing in her life. After years of singleness and a career, God turned her life upside down. Today, her “business card” would say: Wife. Mother. Teacher. Follower of Christ. Kathy attends our Powdersville campus.