If you ride a bicycle, you’ve no doubt experienced the guy in the car who passes while yelling obscenities and other verbiage to let you know how he feels about your riding on his road and causing him to slow down. If you get on Facebook, you cannot help but notice how many people are just vomiting dislike for one thing after another. An easy elevator discussion started is to rail on the weather.
The easy “pot shots” do no good for anyone. It does not help the person spewing and it certainly does not help the person who hears the attack. Nor does it make any difference in the condition of things in the long run.
When you think about it, this type of action is quite cowardly. It takes no backbone to yell out the window at someone. You are not so brave when you post critiques of the government or someone on Facebook. You certainly do not show any courage when you complain about the weather.
So, what are we to do to avoid this “cowardly communication?” Follow the dictates of Holy Scripture.
Colossians 4:6 (ESV) — 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Now there is an act of valor. When you give some thought to your words and seek to be gracious to others and when you understand that your speech, verbal or written, is to be seasoned with the salt of God’s grace, you take a stand for good, and it will require courage and thought to do so.
Think about it this way. When you criticize the government and those in authority be it government officials or leaders in the church, you are really speaking out against God.
John 19:8–11 (ESV) — 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
If those in authority have been placed in that position by God for His purpose, what are we to do? Pray for them.
1 Timothy 2:1–4 (ESV) — 1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
The next time you hear someone expressing cowardly communication in spewing about the government, ask them to take a moment and lead in prayer for the officials. That is the directive from God and we know as we seek to be like Christ in every matter of life, we are assured of His help. Notice the following:
1 Peter 2:13–25 (ESV) — 13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Whether you like the weather or not, whether someone has done you wrong – even if they have caused you to slow down, or if you are unhappy with the political realm, it’s not time to sling out discharges verbally or written, it’s time to pray and ask God for the grace to respond with grace and to help you be what you need to be in that moment. Think of what a different world it would be if people focused on positive communication that is meant to change, rather than cowardly communication that is just vomit.