Soooo... I've been thinking...
The other day I performed my ritualistic and somewhat cursory, scan of my Facebook feed. I'm not here calling anyone out, so I'll keep it vague. A person I know referred to their spouse in a pretty derogatory way. Not an angry tirade against their spouse. Just a pattern of speech that seemed to flow pretty freely. Kind of a "ball-and-chain" reference.
Not a fan.
And it just so happens I've been contemplating the devil's calculated use of divide and conquer with us simple human beings. It's all over the Bible. Just look at the first humans. Their consumption didn't separate us from God alone, but from each other.
The first husband and wife, and every couple since then. Every person since then.
Contrast that with Christ and the ministry of reconciliation He has given to us.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:17-19
People think it is the labels we put on each other that divide us. I think we're just using the wrong labels.
I've heard my husband refer to me in many ways. Not one derogatory. Our current favorite is true love, a label adhered during a conversation following Frozen.
This isn't supposed to gross you out. And please don't think our every word to each other to be drizzled with the nectar of love. It's just different. A good different. It reminds me who I am talking to and about. It seasons my words.
It keeps me from buying into the idea that our words are just words. That the careless words we speak in haste won't become a pattern in our lives. Because words can pack a punch. We know it's true. And if the devil can play into one insecurity using a comment I shouldn't have made (yes, I am culprit numero uno), then it's time I figured out a new speech borne of a new creation. It's a totally different language- not in an effort to appear better than others, but as a revelation of who I am in Christ. And who they are as well.
Because kind words pack a punch too. And praise God for that.
"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person."
So I'm bringing back labels. Labels, like most habits, don't exist in a vacuum. We are born seeking an identity. To whom do we belong? Those of us blessed to know the Lord find our identity in Him. But removing the negative labels we have allowed to litter our self-image isn't enough. We won't keep them off unless we replace them with something new.
That's what Christ did. He replaced the A of the adulterous woman with the F of forgiven. (John 7-8)
And in giving us the ministry of reconciliation, He has called us to do the same. To grab the emotional goo-gone and windex and scrape away the labels that wallpaper the broken hearts around us. To apply the ointment and adhesive of forgiveness and purpose. Labels like "His." Like "My Neighbor." "Brother." "Sister." He cemented us together in the Body of Christ for a reason, and that's not to do any verbal amputations, but to minister, heal, and work together in His kingdom.
God spoke and it was. His Spirit in us gives us the ability to speak true life to our neighbors. Praying the Holy Spirit works that in you today and this week, into your heart and your words. Wouldn't it be an awesome thing to see reconciliation in our own lives? Our own neighborhoods? Our own towns? Praising God that He can make it so. Love you all.
And if you need a soundtrack to this particular post, let me direct you to YouTube and the fabulous stylings of Toby Mac in "Speak Life" and Matthew West in "Child of the One True King." I know there are many others. Please feel free to share your favorites with me. I'm always looking for good tunes!