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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Wednesday, July 22

“Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. Who are you to judge your neighbor?”
—Matthew 6:34

“If you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say anything at all.” This truth can keep us from uttering many things that are better left unsaid. We know it is important to bridle our tongues when we are not prepared to speak kind words to others. This shouldn't keep us, however, from offering our opinion when others’ welfare is at stake. 

Silence shouldn’t always be the virtue of choice.  It is, in fact, sometimes more harmful than helpful. If we have a reasoned opinion about a damaging action that is about to be undertaken, remaining silent becomes its own kind of negative and passive judgment. We may avoid saying something so that no one will think that we deem them spiritually lacking. Yet, staying quiet sometime slays the groundwork that causes the other person to tread in places of self-defeat.

In such situations, it’s not silence that is called for, but spiritual sensitivity. In other words, speaking to a person about a potential hazard is only judgmental when we speak with words of superiority, or in words that are demeaning. If we speak from spiritual sensitivity,we speak truthfully without assigning any blame or shame. We speak about what we see,but we speak without malice or guile.  We speak about our perception,but only with deep love for the other person. 

Imagine, what our own life would look like if no one ever spoke the truth to us about the pitfalls we were about to step into. Imagine if, out of a desire to refrain from judgment, no one ever shared their perceptions with us about the landscape of our life. We would probably find our lives out of control, our souls out of balance, and our minds out of whack. 

We do not want to speak evil. We do not want to judge.  But, we do want to truthfully and with spiritual sensitivity give our opinions when those opinions may help another person toward wholeness.

Gracious God, give me the courage to speak the truth in love.