When people are working really hard to make a solid argument on an issue they’re passionate about, it’s easy to get frustrated. I still 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. Also, if I went with “takes one to know one,” wouldn’t I be insulting myself at the same time?
Using words as a weapon is always counterproductive. It doesn’t take long to figure out that words don’t really bounce either. They can wound. When we’re bent on wounding and focused on the sound of our own voice, we miss an opportunity to grow in character and wisdom. Proverbs 18:2 says, “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions,” (HCSB). Honestly, I’d rather have true wisdom and not end up just a big ol’ show-off.
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 Ephesians 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,” (ESV). The word “corrupting” is from a Greek word originally used for rotten, putrefied food.
A few years ago while I was visiting my daughter, I was digging through her little college fridge for salad fixings. 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.”
Bad colors. Worse stank. But it made me think about how sad it is that we so often pay much more attention to what we put into our mouths than we do the words we allow to come 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.
I want that to be the scent of my heart. Jesus Himself said, “For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart” (Matthew 12:34 HCSB). Overflowing words of grace. Never “says you.” It’s not a “says me” kind of thing either. I want to make my life to ever and always be a “says Him” life. The kind where He guides my heart and my every word. The kind where I stick with Him. Yes, like glue.