I think all our words need the right spice, condiments of love if you will! We know the greatest of all the condiments we can use to season our words is love. There are clear rights and wrongs laid out for us biblically. 7 deadly sins, I won’t go over the things that God has clearly put in our “no fly zone”. They are in the book if you want to review them. If we do those things that are truly sin, our lives will eventually reap the wages of those sins. That my friends is a spiritual law. The wages of sin are death. Physical death, maybe not. But it could be death to my finances, death to a marriage or other relationship, death to my ability to be a nurse, pilot, lawyer or other profession that requires a license. But continued sin will lead to loss, separation from each other and our relationship with God.
So back to condiments, salt was used historically to preserve, purify and enhance flavor. If we speak to one another without our words seasoned well with love, purity and grace particularly when questioning where a person is at it can easily feel and sound like judgement. We are supposed to weigh words and test every spirit. So if someone says “Nicky, I’ve noticed you are sharing a lot of Facebook messages lately with foul language and raunchy images and I’m concerned. I love you, and I’ve known you for many years. What’s going on with you? I’m concerned because the things you are sharing are projecting an image, values, thoughts different than the ones I know to be in your heart.” If that persons words are well seasoned with her love for me, desire to see me walk in my gifts unhindered by sin, her message is not judgement but love. The friend as a mature believer has weighed my words, tested the spirit and recognizes that what I’m doing isn’t who she has known me to be. We all make judgement calls all day long, in just about every action we take. Call it decision making if you like but we are constantly weighing out possible outcomes. When it comes to each other perhaps we need to think more about the things we actually think we have the need/right to address in each other’s lives.
If I think a friend should never wear lemon yellow, that’s my opinion. My perception that lemon yellow is unattractive on her. But in the big giant picture of life, does it matter what my thoughts are, about what color she wears. Nope, not really. That simply put is just not a kingdom living issue. The car she drives, how many cats she has and her passion for lemon yellow turtlenecks are all matters of personal choice.
The example of her speaking into my life about what I’m doing on Facebook is however a Kingdom living concern. She is my sister in Christ. We are called to hold each other accountable, so that we ALL can walk in the fullest measure of His grace and glory. Her concern is that I never allow my sin to become a barrier in my relationship with her, my other friends, family and God. Did she judge me as a bad person because of my foul language and raunchy posts on Facebook? No, she tested my words and the true “spirit behind my actions”. She saw clearly that these posts weren’t flowing out of Holy Spirit kingdom values and living. She knows that if we love one another, we are called to exhort each other to live in the River of the Holy Spirit. She called me to examine where I’m at, what I’m projecting and to ask me why. That to me is an example of her loving me. If she wasn’t walking in love, she might have just unfriended me. She might have come at me with her own harsh language saying my posts were offensive to her. But she was actually more concerned about my character, than her value or lack of value for my posts.
The most powerful place we can be as believers is when we “dwell in unity.” When we examine our own hearts and then really express concerns from a place of preferring our friend over our own agenda; speak words seasoned well with love, we can speak truth in love even on hard topics. If I feel judged by her. I have to look at my own heart and how I received her comments. If I was offended by something she shared that really does line up with God’s values, then it’s my problem. I’ve been hurt deeply in the church over my years as a believer, most of us have been. That is the nature of being in relationship with other people, it happens. We may pull back, regroup and eventually heal and move forward in those relationships. Some we must end, but most are continued. Few things damage our walk with God and each other like being offended. We may think our being offended is all about that other person. The truth of the matter is offense and how we deal with it is about us.
God recently highlighted a book I read 20 years ago. It came to my mind after the local House of Prayer hosted some meetings lead by Bonnie Jones. God showed me that this book is for right now. The book is called “The bait of Satan” written by John Bevere. It’s a book all about how we think and speak to and about each other, and Offense. How offense disrupts us being able to live in unity. When we tear down each other we are really playing on the enemies team. Once we are buried in Jesus, God doesn’t see our sin. He sees Jesus, and us buried in him. Unfortunately it’s fairly easy to see flaws and faults in each other. A critical spirit and having discernment are not the same thing. He has called each of us to pass through the Refiners Fire. It’s a painful process where we have the dross removed from our lives. What remains is pure gold. That refining is a lifetime process. Years ago a friend had a prophetic word given to her about Fine and Refine. God really wants us to allow him to take us beyond fine. , to hearts of the purest gold. His fire is the only path.
When we truly learn to love each other with His love, our words will build up and not tear down. Our character and nature will look more and more like Jesus. We will willingly ask, “Lord search me and know me, reveal any wicked way within me”. We will repent quickly for living lives that don’t reflect kingdom values. We will repent quickly when we do anything that could lead another to go astray. We will see that our greatest strength comes when we can dwell together in unity. Our words will be seasoned with grace and love. They will be spoken even when we are upset respectfully. When offense comes and our pride wants to rant at how unfairly we’ve been treated, we will take it to the Father. Weighing out the words spoken to us, and testing every spirit. We will put offense aside quickly.
Our greatest desire will be to have our head hit our pillow each night knowing we “loved well”. We have allowed the enemy no foothold in our life today. That we are in planted firmly in the river of the Holy Spirit trusting God to be the judge. We will know that of faith, hope and love, that He says love is the greatest. That when we speak with our words well seasoned with love, casting all offense is far from us, we have indeed loved well.
Bob Jones was a prophetic voice who issued the challenge to us all, to “love well“ before his passing. I think of Bob’s exhortation to love well so often. I try to remind myself that loving those around me “well” everyday, is more important than being right. Loving well is more important than my personal values, pet peeves, or politics or other agendas. Loving well, preferring another’s needs above my own is kingdom living. I recently heard an interview. The speaker said this, “When we seek to infuse value into the people around us, rather than extract something of value for ourselves, then we will truly find joy and our greatest treasure”. His words resonated deeply in my spirit.
Where your treasure is, there your heart is also. Speak life spiced with love to each other, push past all offense and love well my friends, love well.