My wife Pam and I work three days a week in our local food pantry. Because of economic conditions, we have had a large increase in the number of clients we serve so we have been adding volunteers. A few weeks ago we added two volunteers to our Thursday morning team, two ladies in their eighties who once lived across the street from each other. They still live close to one another, only in cottages at an assisted living facility. One Thursday Pam mentioned to them that we have a dear friend who recently moved into the same facility. They asked her name and she told them, Mary Jo. "Mary Jo!" they responded. "We know her...she's making lots of new friends!" We were not surprised to hear that. Mary Jo is one of the friendliest people either of us has ever known. That encounter reminded me of today's passage, so let's listen to it:
Everything you say should be kind and well thought out so that you know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:6)
There’s a reason our friend Mary Jo is so well received everywhere she goes: she always speaks kindly to people. She always encourages them and builds them up. Her speech is always gentle, friendly, and encouraging. After every encounter we have with her, Pam and I always comment about what a blessing it is to know her. Why? Because Mary Jo lives out today's passage every day. My Mom was like that, too; she always built others up. In fact, I can’t remember a single conversation with Mom in which she berated someone else, whether talking to them or about them. Today's passage reminds us that what you and I say to or about other people matters to God. He says, "Everything you say should be kind and well thought out." I don't think he’s only referring to our verbal conversations, do you? I think when God says “everything” it includes what we write, or pass along on social media like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Please consider taking a few penitent moments, right now, in the light of the Holy Spirit and scripture. Ask God to show you how you might do better at living up to today's passage. Ask God to help you to do better in the days ahead. Both you and I can become less like ourselves – and become more like Jesus. And that's always the very best Good News!