On Controversy and Context

Words are powerful, they build up or they tear down.

We can, with the opening of our lips or the tips of our fingers, loose pain or slander or confusion…or we can offer hope and truth and peace and kindness.

If we follow Love, Jesus Christ, we should take great care with how we communicate, even (especially) in disagreement. Our God who breathes out the Word appeals that we seek unity and peace with the body; He exhorts us to love one another – it is the second part of the summation of the Law.

And no, you cannot love well if you tweak the truth or speak without the law of kindness on your tongue.

I confess, I fail at the wisdom of holding back “tear down” words. But I pray grace for me and grace for you that we would not stay in the same, but be always sensitive to the Spirit.

I also urge you as I remind myself that context is so very, very important.

Words taken out of context can malign and confuse.

We all know there will always be dissent; we are still wrapped in flesh.

But let’s try, try to love as if our life depended on it. Let’s take our words before the throne of grace, and then carefully think through them before we ship.

Related: What Grateful Love May Look Like (a post by Ann Voskamp)

17 Coffee Talks on “On Controversy and Context”

  1. Kara says:

    Sarah Mae,

    This post is finding me at a time when it is so hard to hold back "tear down" words. This weekend I read, in the blogosphere, the 'tearing down' of a sister-in-Christ. It was being billed as something else…. a holy indignation I guess, and it wasn't meant to be personal. That's what was said…. that it wasn't personal. But it was deeply personal and it ignited what felt like holy anger in myself. I can't stand bullying, so I was ready to enter into the fray swinging!
    The Holy Spirit checked me. It's not a fight He needs me or wants me in. And that "holy" anger I felt? It ended up being a log that made my own eye very sore indeed!
    Thank you, Sarah Mae, for this humble reminder:
    "And no, you cannot love well if you tweak the truth or speak without the law of kindness on your tongue."

    I needed to read this.

    Blessings dear sister,

  2. Sarah Mae says:

    Kara, I know. It is so hard, and I feel angry too. But love covers.


  3. sarah beals says:

    I love the Prov. 31 woman. She had a self imposed law on her own tongue: the law of kindness. :)

    • Sarah Mae says:



      "She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."

      I want this.

  4. Jen says:

    Good post. So hard, yet so important.

  5. Marieke says:

    This makes me think of a Living Proof Live simulcast I attended last fall. Beth Moore taught on “The Law of Kindness” based on Proverbs 31:26 – “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Beth’s reasons for teaching on wisdom and kindness: 1. We live in a mean world…2. We all open our mouths…

    Your post is a fresh reminder of this truth. Thank you!


  6. Sisterlisa says:

    Thanks for the encouraging words, Sarah Mae. Sometimes those negative posts about loving people are just not worth reading.

  7. Amanda says:

    It amazes me how simple a rule set we have. How easy it all sounds to be that woman. It turns out that some of the simplest sounding things such as keeping a joyful heart can be the most difficult part of the day given the circumstances. My struggle comes from the day to day disappointment in the world around me. Just turning on the 5 o'clock news can be trying. Thank you for the reminder :)

  8. Summer says:

    Very nice post. :) It reminds me that love is an identifying mark of Jesus true followers. (John 13:34, 35)

  9. learning this, hard… thank you, for thoughts on grace and love and him. so glad to have found your place, here.

  10. Clio Bushland says:

    Thank you. This is so true. I live in Wisconsin, so these words are so helpful right now! I think conflict is good. It's how we learn and grow. We learn and grow anyway if there is at least as much love as conflict. I think we may be a bit out of balance there. I know I am.

    • Sisterlisa says:

      Clio, I can't even begin to imagine how emotionally charged your state is right now. ((prayers)) going up for all of you.

  11. Cyle Lewis says:

    Thanks Sarah Mae…. these are good words!

  12. Carrie says:

    And i thought all the hullabub was about something totally different. But then after reading posts from 3 or 4 leading christian women bloggers (you included) I realized there was something else going on. And Sadly I stumbled across it.

    Hmmm… I do agree we should be mindful and very careful what we say.
    But I think honest critiques using God's word as the guide are fair. (though I agree, not all are being honest and fair)

    This is hard Sarah Mae.

    • Sisterlisa says:

      It is difficult for sure, Carrie. Especially when someone we love is being questioned. But whenever someone has a pulpit or book published, they open themselves up to debate and disagreements. Remembering that even Jesus' words were and still are often misunderstood. Above all, love and grace.

  13. lea says:

    the whole "sticks and stones" adage is SO untrue.
    unkind words hurt much worse than sticks and stones.
    when my children were little, we cut up tiny pieces of
    paper and dropped them in front of a fan which spread
    them all over the house.

    "that's where your words go, and it's almost impossible
    to take them back."

  14. Tracy Stoffell says:

    Words, there have been so many times in my life that I wish I could take back something that I said, most of those times I spoke out of emotion. We can get caught up in our emotions and then BAM out of mouth words are spoken that can wound others. I try really hard, when I am hurt to think before I speak.

Leave a Coffee Talk

CommentLuv badge

  • Photobucket

    I'm Sarah Mae. I'm figuring out how to fit perfect into fallen skin. Stick around for the stretching...your soul is welcome here.

  • Meta

  • Loading