Improving Your Services
You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness. Therefore, rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls…. If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless” (James 1:19-21, 26)
James is very practical in his writing. He was concerned about faith and action. He applied Scripture directly to life situations. He said for us to be “doers” of the word. In other words, he means our faith should produce good works which includes our language. What we do is important, but what we say is equally important. Language involves both verbal and nonverbal. Language itself is an action such as our emotional and facial expression, tone of voices, choice of words, when and how we speak in our communication with one another. Language can hurt and heal depending how we use it.
Many years ago in my early years of ministry I had a church family that had stopped coming to church. I was curious why they had not been coming to church. The wife was a member of the Administrative Board. One day at a meeting I asked her why she and her family had not been to church. To my surprise she said her husband was hurt from something that I said in a previous meeting. My words at the time were intended for everyone but this family felt offended as a direct response and judgment to their situation. They left the church not long thereafter.
I wonder how I could have done better to serve this family. There are many things I could say or not say to minister to this family. What was said I could no longer retract. What was hurt is not easily healed. The family was wounded. Conflict and misunderstanding often arise in the church because of words or languages we use. As leaders and ministers of the Gospel we meet many people and engage in many meetings and conversations weekly. We can serve well if we will heed James’s words, be more attentive to listening than speaking and use positive languages. Today, I challenge you to think of the people who have been hurt or isolated because of what you have said or the language you have used, and reflect on those situations and what you could have said better or how you might improve your language.
Loving God, I want to serve the people who you have put in my ministry. Help me to do the right thing and say the right word that will strengthen their faith and love for you. Forgive me the mistakes I have done and teach me how to serve in all that I do and say. Amen.