Monday, April 30, 2007

from gossip and criticism to giving grace

Jonna Petry speaks to the women of Mars Hill on the manner in which they give grace in their communication.

Listen here.

Because of sin, because of the curse, because we all suffer, we are all in profound need of God's grace.

And God desires that we be instruments of His grace to one another.

Drink deeply of God's grace.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Pride keeps us from receiving God's grace.

It is pride in me to think that God loves me more when I do right and loves me less when I do wrong.

We are all in profound need of God's grace no matter where we are in the journey.

I must humbly accept the reality of who I am, that the horrible reality of the ability to sin rests in me as much as it does in anyone else. I must be ever mindful and ever receiving, deeply drinking of, the grace that God gives.

For how can we speak God's grace, if we miss the grace God intends for us.

My value and self-worth is only this: that God loved and saved a wretch like me.

2. In spite of our sin and circumstances, our heavenly Father deeply loves His children and has abundantly supplied through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord that grace that we profoundly need.

God really loves us but not because of anything in us.
Romans 5:1-7
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Ephesians 4:29
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

corrupting talk vs giving grace

Grace is clothing on a naked body.
Grace is a blanket that wraps around you and gives comfort and peace and security


Criticism - act of stressing another's faults; finding fault; judge with severity; born out of a heart full of pride; it is first an attitude before it ever becomes words that are spoken.

Common emotions or roots:
pride and self-righteousness; high opinion of self; inordinate self-esteem; conceit of one's own superiority; contempt of others

Genesis 3:1-6
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
When we engage in corrupting conversation we are following the deceiver.

Problematic in the church since the epistles were written.

2 Corinthians


Almost every admonition to women in the Bible deal with a woman's words.

1 Timothy 2:11
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

Proverbs 9:13
The woman Folly is loud;
she is seductive and knows nothing.

A sinful mouth is often associated with a deceived heart.

The bitter fruit of sinful speech is destruction.

Galatians 5:15
But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

Matthew 12:34-37
You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
This heart of sinful criticism is a heart full of pride.

For believers, God-dependent effort to bridle the tongue is necessary for holy living and pleasing the Lord.

Pr. 10:19
When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

James 1:26
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.

Advice from experience:
1. If the person you are talking about were present as a by-stander, how would it affect them?

2. Just because you don't say anything yourself, you are guilty of sin unless you immediately divert the conversation or leave.

3. How can you be used as an instrument of grace?

James 3:2-11
For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 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. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?

No human being can tame the tongue.
But God by the power of the Holy Spirit can tame the tongue.

How can we change to be women who give grace to those who hear?
1. recognize the problem, it's depth and seriousness
2. recognize pride
3. be people who receive grace
4. know we are loved so we may give love to others
5. respond in deep gratitude, loving God (1 John 1:4)

speak words of redemption, grace-filled, trasformation, build up the church and not tear it down


GloryandGrace said...

"Advice from experience:
1. If the person you are talking about were present as a by-stander, how would it affect them?
2. Just because you don't say anything yourself, you are guilty of sin unless you immediately divert the conversation or leave.
3. How can you be used as an instrument of grace?"

All three questions are so crucial - in my personal sin struggles, #2 is far too often the case, and is a very practical way in which we (I) can fulfill #3. Thanks for simply taking the time write out all of these points and Scripture references. It was a very encouraging read, one that moves me to personal examination and prayer~

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post christine! I myself have struggled with this topic. Is what I talk about to my friends bringing glory to God? Is he at the centre of my conversation? When I talk about someone, why and to what purpose!? Is it out of love or rather fromt the sins that you mentioned? I have often fallen short and am very ashamed to think so and am glad to be reminded and rebuked by you (even if not directly :) ). Thank you again for your post.

mark said...

Dang chic! Ya built a nice (exhaustive) reader.. I'm tempted to add it to my archives..