Weekly message from Cypress Church: Why do you have to be so mean?

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

I was on my way into the cleaners when a group of high school students were passing by. They had evidently just walked over from their high school and were heading into, or coming out of, one of the shops along this strip mall. There were laughing and talking, and, though I could not tell what they were talking about, all of a sudden the tone of the conversation changed. The laughter had stopped and you could see furrowed brows, pursed lips, folded arms, and harsh words began to fly. The pack of students stopped and things seemed to escalate. Finally, one girl in a firm but gentile tone said nicely to whole group, “Why do you have to be mean?” The little crowd stopped speaking and stared at the girl. It was an awkward silence only broken by a guy who blurted out, “I’m going for a smoothie, anyone want to join me?” Someone laughed and group moved on. As I finished my errand at the cleaners I noticed they were all hanging out laughing at the smoothie shop. That one girl’s comment seemed to change the whole tone of moment they shared together.

In contrast, we have all seen people get in to it with another person and, out frustration, says something snarky or cutting, but it is mean, with sharper and more aggressive tones. The scene intensifies and before long it’s road rage, angry rants, hurtful tweets and posts and we sit back and ask, “Why do you have to be so mean?”

The wisdom of God challenges us with our words.

Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

‘Unwholesome talk’ is mean speech that tears others down, venomous words that are intended to inflict pain. Unfortunately, it seems so natural to say mean and hurtful things. Yet, God challenges us to the opposite.

Psalms 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Proverbs 17:27-28 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.

Colossians 3:8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

Proverbs 15:4 The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 21:23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from
calamity.

Psalms 19:14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Yes, our words matter. What we say makes a difference and, though it seems common and acceptable to send a biting tweet, lash back with a well-placed retort, or be more aggressive in what we say, a gentle answer actually has the greater influence. It does take us thinking before we speak, but if we do, it might change the whole atmosphere of your office, home, school, friendship, or marriage. So be careful with your words.

Church can be a place where we learn and practice uplifting speech. Now, sure, no church is perfect because it’s full of imperfect people. Yet most churches tend to follow and practice God’s teachings. So, church is a good place to learn and grow. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. Our website has more information: http://www.cypresschurch.net.