Today we begin the exciting journey of using our good wellbeing to help other people. Ultimately, to know and to serve God we must turn our thoughts away from ourselves and on to others. Amazingly, however, that service we provide to others further enhances not only our knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10), but our own wellbeing as well (Community Ment Health J 2014;50:577-82).
We can divide this topic into two sections: our words and our actions. Today we start with our words!
The manner in which we speak to one another is of vital importance. The Bible implores us to control our tongue and reminds us how destructive our speech may be (James 3:1-13).
How do we do this in a practical way? Biblical speech can be broken down into three basic steps:
- Foundational biblical thinking
- Biblical planning
- Biblical speaking
Let’s discuss briefly each point in turn.
Foundational biblical thinking – The first step to speaking to one another in a godly way is to control what we think about other people. Ultimately, what we think about someone will influence our behavior and speech. The apostle Paul is a good example to us in that he typically begins each epistle to a church by expressing gratitude, commendation and his commitment to pray for those to whom he is writing. It’s very difficult to be nasty to someone for whom you are thankful, you realize the good things God has done in their life and you are praying. Such profitable thinking is critical to Bible oriented speech.
Biblical planning – Thinking well of someone is not the end of the process of developing biblical speech. We must consider specifically how we might help a person. This takes some consideration (1 Timothy 4:16). In our busy lives it’s not easy to know or even notice a person’s need. Consequently, taking a few minutes to consider a person’s situation in life and potential needs is critical. What if you cannot think of any needs? That’s easy, ask them! This demonstrates your love and care and helps you to know how to love them. In summary, develop a plan!
Biblical speaking – Once you have a mindset that is favorably disposed towards someone and a plan to meet their need(s), you are better positioned to speak with them. Indeed, how we speak to each other as Christians is very important. The Bible indicates (Ephesians 4:29) that we should speak to one another’s need. Further, the whole concept behind the Greek word for love agape (αγαπη) is to love based not primarily on emotion, but on the other person’s needs. This includes speech. Our speech is not a tool to use primarily to express our own emotions but to help other people. Such thinking and speech processes then will give you the opportunity to give away the lessons of wellbeing that you have learned from scripture and have incorporated in your own life. Wow, what transformative ideas! The Bible is a wonderful tool.
Thank you for joining me today. Next week we will continue this discussion regarding service to others.