I admit that, sometimes, I walk into a room loaded for bear. I may have had a bad day, missed my mid-morning snack, or just feel grouchy in general. Whether this is a meeting at work, coming home to my family, or going to church on Sunday morning, those whom I’m about to talk with are already in a losing battle – they just don’t know it yet.
I’m not proud of those times. I wish I could be more like others that I know, who never seem to lose their cool, and who (almost) never seem to have a bad day. These are the diplomats, the peacemakers, and the purveyors of harmony in our world. It’s always good to have at least one of them in every group.
I think that those people are great examples of this passage from Ephesians:
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:29-32 NASB
This is a goal for each of us to live up to. This doesn’t meant that there isn’t a place for righteous anger (see John 2:14-16). However, even in anger, our words should make things better, not worse.
If – like me – you’re not always naturally inclined to speak good words from time to time, this directive is a challenge. But, I think that we can agree that it is still the right thing to do.
So, the next time you or I walk into a room, let us look for the right word at the right time; to help and not to hurt.