Social media circuits are inflamed with comments and push back on a few of the loudest voices in Christendom because of a few unhelpful comments in light of the nation’s grief. I have been saddened and at times enraged by some responses to the tragedy on Friday. I wish the news would quote people like Rebekah Lyons and Jen Hatmaker instead.
It does matter what you think of guns and the laws of using them. It does matter what you think about gay marriage. It does matter what you think about prayer in schools. It matters what you think about abortion.
But not now.
What matters now are the 26 families and a whole community who lost someone very precious to them. What matters now is every mother in this country is holding tight to her kids and battling the fear in her mind that this could happen to her child. What is important now is that the world is watching and waiting for the invisible God to be seen. Whether we realize it or not, we are all longing for hope, desperate for answers and bleeding out for comfort.
Those who call on the name of Jesus are to mourn with those who mourn and not pour salt on to wounds with their words of correction.
Colossians 4:6 says, Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
If you dip your finger in a pot of salt and take a lick, you will likely get the willies from the over powering taste. On its own it is no good. Last night I made a pot of stew made mostly of herbs for some friends, one who had never enjoyed this particular dish. It is a Persian recipe, so I wanted to do my part in making it a good new experience for my friends. As I taste tested during cooking, it tasted bitter, so I added some salt. I kept adding salt until the bitterness was transformed into a robust flavor. If I dumped a whole bunch of salt in at one time, I would risk ruining the stew.
Our words should be used the same way, a dash here, a dash there… little by little bringing out the flavors of ingredients already there. For many, what they are tasting is something new and their taste buds will be forever imprinted by our presentation.
It is the end of the year and I am coming out of a very busy and heavy season so I’m tired. Unfortunately, those around me have experienced me in a somewhat bitter way from the salt of my tears to the unwise things flowing from my mouth. My words have not been used well in time and place. No one says it better than the writer of Ecclesiastes:
There is a time for everything… a time to be silent and a time to speak.
So now I realize, before I judge the voices in the media for their insensitivity and their destructive comments about the brokenness of our world, I should look no further than my own heart and ask Jesus to come and clean house.
Jesus help me to be slow to speak and quick to listen. Help me mourn with those who mourn.
Create in me a clean heart and remove every bit of yuckiness.
Season my bitterness with your grace so I can bring it to others along with
Your comfort, Your peace and Your joy.