“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”– Ephesians 4:29
Be kind to your sisters. Be kind to your brothers too, but I am speaking specifically of women here, of that religious spirit, that rush to judgment, that harsh and unkind competitiveness, that propensity to condemnation that so typically feminine.
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6
We are called to exhort, encourage, edify, lift up one another. “Edify” actually has its roots in “to build,” as in to build up and erect a temple. “Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” -1 Corinthians 6:19
When we are speaking to one another, we are actually speaking to God’s temple, to His precious child. I don’t know about anyone else, but if someone speaks unkindly to my child, I tend to get a bit peeved.
It’s somewhat amusing, but I was totally not prepared for the onslaught of condemnation and judgment from Christian women on the internet. That simply does not exist in my world. Anybody being unkind is simply off my planet, erased, I don’t even see them. Blind as a bat to that truth, I was. My husband has always seen it, he has always known, so he did get a good laugh when I totally collapsed and diffused all over him.
I am a temperamental soul, so absolutely I can get snappish and fight back, especially when the attacks get really personal, like a whole slew of gossip about my being menopausal and insane, accusations of witchcraft, or my face photo shopped on a beluga whale. These things are juvenile, foolish, and mean, but all very real in bloggerville. Does anybody think I mend my ways in the face of such attacks and criticism? Not exactly.
Often “exhort, edify, encourage” our sisters, seems to get replaced with “rebuke and condemn.”
I don’t know what that is all about, but it is not reflective of what Jesus Christ taught us. When you read His words, His interactions with women, He Himself does not even rebuke and condemn. He asks women questions, every single time. It serves the same purpose, but the tone is entirely different. Woman, where is your husband? Where are your accusers? Who touches my robe? Often women will respond to such questions, respond to grace, far more effectively than anything else.
Just this one fact really speaks to the Divinity of Christ to me, it really establishes He is who He says He is, because most people don’t understand this, but women are processors, emotional analyzers. Ask us a question, we’ll follow it to its logical conclusion, we’ll chase it and test the validity of it.
Ask satan, he knows. Did God really say…..and down the rabbit hole Eve went.
I learned to do this with my own kids, with my girls. It’s a way of honoring their own ability to think critically, it’s a way of respecting their capacity to make good choices. “Do you need your coat?” is far more effective than “Get your coat!” or, “I think you’re an idiot and you’re going to freeze!” And sometimes they are going to freeze, so you trust God to handle it and comfort them when they get cold.
Honoring and respecting our sisters, encouraging and exhorting, edifying and loving them, that’s what we are called to do, and the implications are actually far deeper and far more profound then simply making the world more pleasant for one another. We are Jesus Christ’s representatives on this Earth and we can hurt people, we can drive them away from faith itself with our over correction and quick condemnation.