Summary: The need is great for a practical demonstration of the Law of Kindness in the church.
THE LAW OF KINDNESS
Ephesians 4:31 – 32 Let all bitterness and all passionate feeling, all anger and loud insulting language, be unknown among you—and also every kind of malice. On the contrary learn to be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you.
Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness.
Introduction: Do you remember the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”? The reality is sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will absolutely break the heart. Broken bones heal with time, but a broken spirit is not easily repaired. They can break the heart of a church, the heart of a brother or sister in Christ, the heart of a husband or wife, the heart of a child.
I. The Tongue is Dangerous Weapon
A. James 3:5 - 10 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
B. All too often we find the tongue being used as not only a dangerous weapon but also a deadly weapon.
C. Think of the destruction that is caused by careless, callous, cynical, or malicious words. This is talk that brings division, discouragement, and demoralization.
D. 2 Corinthians 12:20 (NLT) For I am afraid that when I come to visit you I won’t like what I find, and then you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfishness, backstabbing, gossip, conceit, and disorderly behavior.
E. Gossip-negative talk, put-downs, rumors, accusations-not only hurts the person being talked about; it also hurts the person speaking and the person listening. One negative thought can kill dozens of positive ones. I cannot believe that people are so negative. Negativity breeds nothing but negativity.
F. Consider the impact of our words:
• In the church when someone says:
a. That program will never work – demotivation – a put down
b. If they want to do it that’s fine, but don’t expect me to participate – discouragement, quenching of the Spirit.
c. Why is he or she always asked to do things? - division and strife
d. I heard that… - devastation from unfounded accusations and rumor
e. It just burns me up that... – division selfishness
• In a marriage when one partner says:
a. That was a stupid thing to do.
b. idiot or jerk
c. He’s on a diet, his third this week.” – humiliation and embarrasses
d. A Husband says to his wife, “if you’d learn to cook like Sally we could have some great meals” – destroys self worth.
e. It really isn’t that hard. I’m surprised it took you so long.
f. Venting anger in harsh words, shouting, stomping around the house, and throwing or breaking things are all emotionally abusive.
g. Did you see … You ought to wear your hair like their’s.
h. When psychologists Cliff Nortarius and Howard Markman studied newlyweds over the first decade of marriage, they discovered that couples who stayed together uttered 5 or fewer put-downs in every 100 comments to each other. But couples who inflicted twice as many verbal wounds -- 10 or more putdowns out of every 100 comments -- later split up. Little, nit-picking comments are like a cancer in marriage, slowly draining the life out of a committed relationship.
• In a family when a parent says:
a. Why can’t you do anything right?
b. You’re so lazy you’ll never amount to anything
c. Why can’t you be like your cousin? Sister? Brother?
d. How could you be so stupid?
e. Swearing and using profanity at them
f. All of these convey a sense of worthlessness or of being unloved or inadequacy to a child.
G. "Words have the power (to produce effects) to affect our nervous systems and stimulate interpretations, ’thoughts’, meanings, ’feelings’, images, memory, fears, anxieties, actions" – Milton Dawes, The Power of Words, The Dallas-Fort Worth Center for General Semantics © 1999-2003