Whenever someone is working really hard to make a solid argument on an issue they’re passionate about, it’s easy to get frustrated. I always advise against trying to turn the argument around with “I’m rubber and you’re glue.”
“Says you” doesn’t really do much for a person’s believability either. And anytime I’m trying to defuse a heated discussion, I try to remember that “I know you are but what am I” is not the best way to go either. I might opt for “takes one to know one” except that I would be insulting myself at the same time and that seems counterproductive.
Using words as a weapon is always counterproductive. It also doesn’t take long to figure out that words don’t really bounce either. They can wound. And when we’re bent on wounding, we miss a big opportunity to grow in character and wisdom. Prov. 18:2 says, “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions.” Trading wisdom just to show off? Bad trade.
Not only do we miss the opportunity for growing in understanding, but we miss the blessing of blessing. Every time you use your words to bless someone else, it becomes a rubber blessing of grace that bounces right back around to stick to you.
Paul teaches in Eph. 4:29 to “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
The word “corrupting” is from a Greek word that was originally used for rotten, putrefied food. I’m at this very moment recovering from merely looking at a bag of spinach in my college daughter’s fridge yesterday. We were digging around for salad fixings and our conversation went something like this:
Me: “Kaley, your spinach has brown juice sloshing around in the bottom of the bag.”
Kaley: “Yeah, don’t eat that. Also, don’t eat that bacon.”
Me: “No prob. I never eat bacon that’s … blue.”
The smell made my eyes water a little. Major reek-age. Do I even need to say that I wasn’t the least bit tempted to put any of that in my mouth? How sad it is when we pay more attention to the salad we put in our mouth than the words we let out of it.
We’re told in that Ephesians passage that we’re to choose a word that “fits the occasion”—words that are just right. That brings us back to the blessing of blessing. Paul doesn’t only tell us to stay away from the words that reek, but he gives us specific instructions for how our words should smell instead. When people get a whiff of our words, they should be taking in the sweet scent of grace.
It’s not about what “says you.” It’s not about what says me either. It all comes back around to “says Him.” Jesus Himself said, “For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart” (Matt. 12:34). I don’t want to overflow liquefied spinach or bacon that might move. I want to allow Jesus to so fill my heart that my heart overflows grace words to all around.
Not “Yo mama.” Not “Talk to the hand.”
The scent of grace. Not “so’s your face.”