Tag Archives: Conversation

Are my conversations pleasant and beautiful?

Hot Air

Hot Air

God’s goal for me is that my conversations are pleasant. Arguing and fights aren’t what God has in mind.

  • Love is the key.
  • Respect is imperative.
  • My conversations can be beautiful.
  • Imagine that is what people say after I leave them. “What a beautiful conversation that was.”

If people aren’t courteous to me, I don’t have to get angry, I can just walk away. I can withdraw from confrontation.

Jesus challenges me with the following: “When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they’ll be mighty sorry—but it’s no concern of yours now.”

Congenial conversation — what a pleasure! The right word at the right time — beautiful! ~King Solomon | Source: Proverbs 15:23


Your Answers Matter

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. -Proverbs 15:1, ESV

We see evidence of what this verse is saying all over the world in the middle of 2018.

Several nations are at odds with each other over words being said.

People groups within nations are at odds with each other, fighting over the meanings of words or how they are said.

A major issue?

Most people are using harsh words and refusing to listen. Everyone is a racist or a bigot or a Nazi or stupid or ignorant …

No one is apparently an image-bearer of God. But they are.

And most people just want to be understood and given assurances they will be okay. We may disagree, but we can gently discuss things.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Romans 12:18, ESV


Know the Witness

A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies. -Proverbs 14:5, KJV

Yep.

Okay, this verse may be rather obvious, but there really is more to say.

For example, this is a reminder that you can trust people to be who they are. So, do you keep company with those who will tell you the truth, even when it hurts, or with “Yes Men” and chronic liars, those who are always only in it for themselves.

Another line of thinking: how do you respond to each of these people?

Do you lash out at the faithful witness or accept their words?

Do you treat the liar with contempt and hatred or with enough respect for the image of God in them to help protect both of you from the effects of their lies?

If you know their character, it is easier to respond. Always fall back on truth and God’s word, holding yourself and others to that standard.

There is no easy answer for how this is done, and it can depend on each instance with each person, but trusting in our Faithful Father to guide us by His Holy Spirit will be our protection and salvation.


Am I Acquiring a Taste for Helpful Conversations?

Image result for bullyWisdom suggests that I have conversations that are actually helpful. That starts with what is in my heart, continues with what I say and is carried out in how I demonstrate my love. Jesus is challenging me.

At first, it doesn’t taste good to me. It is a taste to be acquired.

The good acquire a taste for helpful conversation; bullies push and shove their way through life.” |King Solomon Proverbs 13:2 (The Message Bible)

Bullies are out to get their own way and make themselves look good.

  • Jesus says: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
  • Why be a bully? Where is the value in tearing others to pieces? Is it right to “punch down” or fight back?
  • Why not be kind and thoughtful? Why not go the way of love? Why not learn from Jesus?
  • Jesus is clear that For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”
  • God can’t stand twisted souls who are mean and cruel.
  • It’s the straightforward who get God’s respect and who are in right standing with him. Jesus challenges me to not hate my enemies.


Safely across to dry ground

buckley

The Mighty Wonder Buck enjoying his outing.

Buckley and I enjoy terrain hiking in a tiny semi-secluded patch of the planet belonging to the college where my husband works.  It’s private land, so I’m thinking the town’s leash laws are not in effect. It’s also one of the few places I can let him range, and he loves it!

So do I.  Not only for myself, but I get such a kick out of watching him enjoy the freedom, and I marvel at the sure-footedness of this rescue pound-puppy of ours.  Not that I can say that about myself, mind you.  No, this one carries a walking stick, wears special insoles in trail running shoes (in which I walk, not run), and even then I have to pick carefully through leaves and creek beds, using that opposable thumb to grab and hoist myself up the hills.

Buckley, the barefoot creature without the opposable thumb?  Right.  He leaves me in the dust. 

I have to be especially attentive when crossing a brook.  Picking my way safely can be challenging (it’s part of the fun), and watching for slippery moss on the rocks is imperative.  If I’m not careful, I’m all wet. 

Hold that thought for a sec.

Proverbs chapter ten is largely concerned with my words, which is a pretty good indicator of what’s in my heart.  Here is a running commentary contrasting the attitude (as shown by their words) of the wise person versus the fool.  Just a sampling—

The wise are glad to be instructed,
    but babbling fools fall flat on their faces…

People with integrity walk safely,…

This isn’t just an observation, (Solomon was quite good at that), but more importantly, a warning.  It’s easy to be drawn into a foolish argument; that is, an argument that is void of the primary foundation of wisdom—

“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
    Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.”

Without this, the encounter can become slippery at best, treacherous at worst, causing confusion, rancor, and division (to name a few.)

Here’s another comparison—

The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain;

…but the babbling of a fool invites disaster.

Are my words giving life?  Or are my words making safe passage unattainable?

Or is it a discussion I should even enter into at this place?

When one of these conversations presents itself, the godly participant does well to stand on the shore and survey how to get across safely to the other side. 

Otherwise, you’re all wet.

Proverbs 10:8,9,11,14; 9:10 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Conversational Traps

Proverbs 26:4

“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.”

To some it seems like a contradiction in Scripture. Here Solomon is telling us to not answer a fool, but in the very next verse he seems to say the opposite. The Apostle Peter even tells us (1 Peter 3:15) to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.” Why, then, should we “answer not?”

Flawed and Senseless

Have you ever tried debate a teenager (or self-assured college-age daughter)? Trying to convince them of truth is like a genuine exercise in futility. When they are convinced they know what is right, there is no arguing, even when they realize their argument is flawed.

Some people will argue over things that make no sense at all, thereby making it impossible to win, no matter what side one’s on. For example, there was lady who called into a radio talk show complaining about the placement of deer crossing signs (signs that warn motorists that deer cross in that area). Let me give you a paraphrased version of the conversation…

deer crossingLady:  I’ve been trying to talk to somebody about this, but no one listen to me.

Radio: Really? What is the problem?

Lady: Well, there have been a lot of people hitting deer on the highway, including me. I just feel they should move these signs to places where there are less cars and slower speeds…I mean, we shouldn’t encourage deer to cross the interstate…that’s too dangerous.

Radio: Are saying these signs are instructing the deer where to cross?

Lady: Yes, and all it would take is moving the crossings to a safer place, like a school zone, where people would have time to see the deer coming and not hit them.

The problem with answering  a fool is that, when we do, we give the fool credence. Answering a fool in his “folly” tends to legitimize the fool’s efforts and encourages him to continue.

“Like unto him”

As a blogger, I receive comments from people all over the world, and believe me, the world is full of fools. Fortunately, I have the option approve or deny the comments people leave. Some of those who visit my blogs challenge me with questions that are obviously meant to entrap, inflame, and waste time. Answering does nothing but frustrate me and make the fool look important, so now I avoid them.

Interestingly, a recent study has shown that “anger is the internet’s most powerful emotion.” Therefore, it is very likely that we will encounter angry, irate, and irrational rants in some future cyber-conversation. The true mark of wisdom is knowing when to avoid getting into the fray, and when to calmly answer (26:5).

Unfortunately, too many of us in this day and age are falling for the fool’s folly and becoming “like unto him.”  Beware of conversational traps.


Vanishing Profits

Proverbs 21:6

The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.
A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare. (NIV)

I have worked with many dishonest people.

When I sold cell phones for a time, I worked with someone who was not afraid to stretch the truth to sell a phone.

“Of course you can set your own music as ringtones!” He would say for a device that does not play music.

“This phone will give you a signal everywhere you go!” He would say for an older device using old technology.

“You can return this anytime you want during your contract!” … Just not true after 30 days!

“I did not know you were their salesman!” He would say to the rest of us after putting a sale in his name.

Initially, he had great sales numbers. It looked like he was going to earn a great commission.

Unfortunately, most of his sales came back after customers realized they did not get what they wanted.

This meant his supposedly high commission was, in fact, quite low. Sometimes it was because the higher-ups in the company figured out he was stealing sales, and they would send the commission to those of us who earned them.

Taken Away

In Luke chapter 19, Jesus shares the parable of the minas, in which a nobleman travels and leaves his money in the care of some servants. Some grow his money while he is gone, but one simply hides it. Those who grew the money were given much responsibility, while the lazy one had everything taken away and given to the better servant.

In Matthew chapter seven, He shares that there will be many who speak and act in His name, but Jesus will tell them “I never knew you.” They are the ones who did everything for personal gain.

The reason these are all related is that in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus tells us to store up treasures in Heaven. We cannot store up treasures in Heaven if we lie through word and deed. If we do, all we think we have stored in Heaven, God will say “All the good you think you did is worthless, because it was a counterfeit.”

In this life or the next, we can lose everything through our dishonesty and selfishness.

Gracious God, forgive us of our deceitfulness and selfishness. Give us Your truth, and help us to be honest and grace-filled.