Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Conversations

Godly Gossip?

What the Bible Says about Gossip

Can gossip ever be godly? Certainly not by the standard definition of the word. Here’s a quick glance at some of the proverbs about gossip:

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler. (Proverbs 20:19)
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered (Proverbs 11:13)
A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. (Proverbs 16:28)

What is so evil about gossip? It springs from a heart of competition; the gossiper desires people to think more of them than what they think of the person being gossiped about. Gossip is evil because it runs down those who are not present to defend themselves. Rather than speaking what is good for building up, it actually tears down. It gives us reason to think less of the person being talked about.

Could Gossip Be redeemed?

But what if the desire were reversed? And what if the effect was reversed? Could there be a godly form of gossip? Could we find a way to speak of those not present in a way that would honour their God and edify those who hear?

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Some Tips on Actually ‘Going There’

This post is continuing the series I’m working through on redeeming your conversations and making them valuable.

You can read part 1, part 2, and part 3 before reading this, if you’d like some background.

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Some Tips on Actually ‘Going There’

Being convinced you want to redeem your conversations is one thing. Knowing how to actually do it is another thing altogether. How do you ‘go there’? Here are a few tips.

  1. Have something to say. Have you read your Bible this week? What have you read that you could share?
  2. Be open. Don’t ever expect a conversation (or a relationship!) to go deeper than you make it.
  3. Have questions. What kinds of things could you ask that would lead to fruitful spiritual conversation? (see here for some help)
  4. Approach people. Don’t sit back and wait for someone to come serve you. Target someone and engage.
  5. Care. If you don’t actually care it will be pretty obvious. Developing a genuine love for people will go a long way in helping you listen carefully and speak appropriately and wisely.
  6. Aim to serve. Ask yourself, ‘How can I “give grace” to the person I’m talking to?’
  7. Pray. If this is a biblical command and a spiritual reality, then you can’t do it on your own. So before, during, and after your conversations.
  8. Be deliberate. When you know Sunday or Wednesday is coming, prepare!

Learning to Be Intentional… Even If Awkward

This post is continuing the series I’m working through on redeeming your conversations and making them valuable.

You can read part 1 and part 2 before reading this, if you’d like some background.

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Learning to Be Intentional… Even If Awkward
We can learning from Pilgrim’s Progress:

‘Well, neighbour Faithful, let us leave [that topic of conversation], and talk of things that more immediately concern ourselves. Tell me now what you have met with in the Way as you came: For I know you have met with some things, or else it may be writ for a Wonder.’

Or in the Enchanted Land:

‘“Now then, said Christian, to prevent drowziness in this place, let us fall into good discourse.” “With all my heart,” said [Hopeful]. “Where shall we begin?” “Where God began with us…”.’

These are just a few examples. Christian was determined to redeem the time of his journey with conversation that would be spiritually beneficial for all. He was determined enough to take the conversation there, even when no ‘natural’ segue-way presented itself.

Sometimes we get frustrated in our attempts to redeem conversations and talk about spiritual things because we’re always waiting for the perfect opportunity to naturally transition the conversation. In reality, though, if we believe that redeeming conversations is worth it, sometimes we need to just swallow our pride and make the transition, even if it does seem awkward for a moment.

The momentary awkwardness will pass. The blessing is what will last.

The Benefits of Redeeming Conversations

Today I’m continuing where I left off yesterday, teaching on the topic of redeeming your conversations.

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What are the Benefits?
Aside from being a means of obeying the commands listed above, redeeming your conversations becomes…

  • A Means of Loving. If you are speaking what is beneficial, it is what is best for them
  • A Means of Serving. People want to talk about spiritual things and people want relationships that mean something. By re-deeming your conversations with them, you’re helping them get there. You’re serving.
  • A Means of Leading. Leading means gaining conviction, calling others to conviction, and then being the first to act on convic-tion. If you’re striving for obedience to the commands of Scripture, you’re leading.
  • A Means of Grace. 1 Corinthians 14 argues that the very best thing you can speak is not a miraculous tongue or even prophecy. What is most important is that your words edify and build up. That means your words give grace—they show people God.
  • A Means of Developing Manly Biblical Friendship. Guys bond over a common purpose (think team sports). If we never talk about our common purpose where will we develop meaningful camaraderie?
  • A Means of Encouraging Evangelism. Part of the reason we’re so scared of evangelism is because we’re scared of spiritual conversations at all. Getting our feet wet with brothers will go a long way to easing us into evangelism opportunities.
  • A Means of Cultivating Humility. It won’t be long before you feel awkward or dumb in a conversation if you’re working hard to make it meaningful. That’s great! This forces us to grow in humility. Are you in it for you or others?

Stewarding Your Conversations

Last night I was blessed with the opportunity to speak to the men of GFC about the privilege we have as Christian men to actually redeem conversations and make them spiritually beneficial. We began by asking the question, ‘How are conversations like gift cards?’ There are a lot of ways to answer that question, but the one I wanted to press home was this:

Potential conversations are like gift cards you receive. They have no cash value on their own; they are worth nothing until you redeem them. But even more than that, there’s a reality to the fact that conversations, like any other gift from God, are intended to be used. We’ll be held accountable for how we’ve used that gift.

I wanted us all to think hard about every potential opportunity for a conversation as an opportunity for something great and a gift we’ll be accountable for.

After that we dove into the lesson. I’ll post the lesson in a couple parts, beginning with what comes below.

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A Curious Thought
The NT never commands you directly to ‘redeem your conversations.’ But the reflective reader of the Bible will realize the importance of stewarding conversations in order to fulfill a number of other commands.

  • Romans 15:14 — I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:26 — What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revela-tion, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.
  • Ephesians 4:25 — Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another.
  • 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.
  • Ephesians 5:18-19 — … be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart…
  • Colossians 3:16 — Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
  • Colossians 4:6 — Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:18 — Therefore encourage one another with these words.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11 — Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
  • Hebrews 3:13 — But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
  • Hebrews 10:24 — And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
  • James 1:19 — Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
  • James 4:11 — Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
  • James 5:9 — Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.
  • James 5:16 — Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Evaluate your past Sunday: How were your conversations? Did you instruct, speak a hymn, speak the truth, teach and admonish, speak graciously, encourage, exhort, stir up to good works, confess your sins? Were you quick to listen? Did you speak evil about a brother or sister, grumble or complain?

Simply put, all of us want to have deep, edifying, spiritual conversations, the question is, how committed are we? And how do we get there?

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