In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong (Matthew 5:37, The Message).
When we are too polite we can be guilty of deception. In the process of trying not to hurt someone’s feelings, we can communicate a false trust or conceal a hidden agenda. Certainly we are to avoid harshness and use kind words. However, if our conversation remains shallow and sentimental it only disrespects the need to ‘speak the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15). It's patronizing to be too polite. Politeness that masks fear is merely a poor player at courtesy.
So, how can we be truly honest with our words? One wise approach is to ask questions, so our language is not accusatory, but helpful in discovery of what needs to be done. For example, a wife may feel alone in her role as a mom and wife. A encouraging question could be, What can your husband do to support you? Or, a husband may feel insecure in his position as the spiritual leader. Perhaps ask, How can your wife make you feel affirmed as the spiritual leader at home?
These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other (Zechariah 8:16).
Furthermore, trust is foundational to effective, forthright speech. Trust assumes the best and is not fearful of rejection. A feeling of goodwill between two parties gives everyone permission to speak freely. Trust builds over time as two people really know and understand each other. They accept one another, forgive one another’s weaknesses, and celebrate one another’s strengths. Mostly, trust in the Holy Spirit to heal hearts, apply truth, and create a spirit of loving dialogue.
Lastly, let your words flow over your lips, but only after you have prayed to the Lord. Prayer is a buffer that keeps the flesh from making a fool of itself. Speech sanctified by the Spirit is kind, but clear. It keeps the conversation cordial, but corrective, if necessary. Our talk with God prepares us to talk with people. It engages our hearts with an emotional and spiritual connection. In a spirit of politeness we can still be to the point and trust the Lord for redemptive outcomes.
Speak to David privately and say, "Look, the king likes you, and his attendants all love you; now become his son-in-law," (1 Samuel 18:22).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the faith to speak forthrightly in a spirit of comfort and love.
Related Readings: Psalm 119:103; Proverbs 22:11; Ezekiel 33:31; 1 Corinthians 13:1
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