Violating Honest, Kind Communication
(Proverbs 26:17, 20-26)
1. Most of us will enjoy a big Thanksgiving feast! BTW, What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter? Pumpkin pi.
2. One woman writes, “A few years ago, my husband and I had my parents and sister up for Thanksgiving for the first time. The evening before while prepping, my refrigerator door fell off — and it was not an old fridge! Thanks to the hubby being here, he temporarily fixed it. Thanksgiving morning, I had a big ham all glazed up and ready when I realized my stove stopped working! I started crying, I was so upset. Not to mention I woke up with a stomach virus. Mom saved the day by using an old toaster oven to fix the ham. It took hours and hours, but we ate. Needless to say, I got a new stove and fridge the next day, and none of our families ever want to have holiday dinners here." —Missy Moody [source: redbookmag.com]
3. Thanksgiving is, in some ways, the most Christian of holidays. The truth must be told, however, that millions who celebrate Thanksgiving are not thankful in general, and certainly not thankful to God. God is not in their thoughts. This is demonstrated by their behavior.
4. James 3:9-10 tells us that the same tongue we use to thank God we use to harm others. “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
Main Idea: We have all misused our tongues, and perhaps created much damage. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we don’t want to be like the natural, unregenerate person; we want to live on a higher level, one that honors God.
Let’s take a look at 3 very familiar violations of honest, kind communication.
I. Violation One: MEDDLING (17)
A. Meddling is a RISK that may sometimes be necessary.
B. Meddling in matters where you have no right to meddle can come back to BITE
you (like a dog)
1. I struggle w/this, not knowing when to speak up & when to hold my peace. One guideline is asking, “Does this affect you directly in some way?”
2. The temptation is to set ourselves up as judges or as police.
3. Let adults make decisions for themselves. Let them decide what is in their best interest. Don’t take the role of big brother.
4. Sometimes on nominating committees, someone will say, “so and so will say ‘no.’” So and so is an adult. Let him or her decide.
Luke 12:13-14, “Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But he said to him, ‘Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?’”
C. Meddling can hurt those you are trying to HELP.
• Example: Man in hospital with family; a man from church starting challenging the doctor, so she quit the patient.
Application: Are you a meddler? Often? Occasionally? Rarely?
II. Violation Two: INSTIGATION (20-22)
A. Like FUEL for a fire: spreading harm (20-21)
1. A whisperer is compared to WOOD for the fire.
2. A quarrelsome man is compared to CHARCOAL for the fire.
• In some ways, more like lighter fluid
• incendiary , “tending to excite or inflame…igniting combustible materials spontaneously…”
• The wildfires in California, 40 plus killed; winds spread the fire like crazy
3. Sometimes people complain because they like to complain. They don’t always realize that their complaints instigate discontent in others as well. Consider!
4. The rebellions against Moses in the wilderness began with complaining. Stirring the pot.
B. Like digestion: instigators get others to INTERNALIZE a discontent attitude (22).
2. FAULT-FINDING (for the purpose of undermining)
2 Samuel 15:2-26, And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And when he said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,” Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.” Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
Are you a complainer, a whiner? If so, then — intentionally or not — you are an instigator. People may take your complaints more seriously than you do.
III. Violation Three: Insincerity and DISHONESTY to Self and Others(23-25)
This includes malicious lying, flattery, telling people what they want to hear rather than what you really think, pretending to like someone you hate.
A. Talk is like a GLAZE, but reality is the POTTERY (23).
• The glaze is how the article is presented, but underneath it is the substance.
• People often think one way, convince themselves they think another, and then tell others the lie they told themselves. But deep down, they know.
B. People who hate another may PRETEND to like that person (24).
• This is malicious, insidious lying. Think of Judas Iscariot or Delilah (Samson)
• Divorce: I didn’t even know he/she was unhappy.
• This person’s hatred may seem to come out of nowhere.
C. People are masters at feigning KINDNESS (25).
• In this case, 7 abominations (types of bad attitudes) going on within.
D. Often, those who hate eventually become PUBLIC (26).
1. The people of the land tried to infiltrate God’s people, but Nehemiah outfoxed them. Then they tried to stop and even attack God’s people.
2. Hatred has a way of surfacing for all to see. They may rant and rave. They may attack and make the person they hate into someone who can do no right. Hatred has an element of childishness in it.
3. It is always better to be patient and let people make a fool of themselves than it is to react in a bad way and make a fool out of yourself — it is what they are hoping to do.
4. We go through great lengths to makes ourselves look good to others and to our own consciences.
5. But we need to be alert and not naïve or unaware of such people.
Do you speak the truth in love? Direct communication, but kind communication. Do you say what you mean and mean what you say? Are you honest to your own self? Are you more concerned about looking good than telling the truth? (William Backus, Telling Each Other the Truth).