Researchers say that women speak around twenty-thousand words a day. By the end of a year, the average woman will have spoken 7.3 million words! Unfortunately, not all the words that come out of our mouths come from a heart of love. I have spoken in haste and regretted my words many times. Have you ever regretted any words you’ve said? I’m assuming we all have. Words are tricky: Once we say them, we cannot unsay them. For some reason, when I was a teenager, I expressed many harsh words. My comments may have been truthful, but I did not say them in a loving way. I had learned the “speaking the truth” part of today’s reading, but I was yet to discover the revelation that we do so “in love.”
Truth without love hurts others. Wisdom comes when we speak in a way that allows others to receive our words well. Before we speak the truth, we ask ourselves whether our words are motivated by the kind of love Paul mentions in these verses, which he explains in his first letter to the church at Corinth: Love is patient, kind, not jealous, not proud, not self-seeking, not angry, and keeps no record of wrongs (1 Cor. 13:4-8).
When we speak the truth in love, our words can build up our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. The good news today is that we can speak the truth with God’s kind of love. As we do so, we grow in Christ and become more like him.
I don’t know your word count for the year, but I pray that all your words come from a heart committed to God’s kind of love, love that builds up community in the body of Christ.
O Lord, fill my heart with your kind of love. Help my words be truthful and loving so that they build up my brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
David thinks he has gotten away with adultery and murder, but God sends Nathan to tell David a story. The story angers David, but Nathan reveals that the story is really about David’s own sin. Indeed, it can be tempting to condemn others’ sin, while we justify our own sin. Psalm 51 is David’s appeal to God for forgiveness and restoration. If we want to please God in our own lives, what does this look like? Ephesians tells us that the signs of a redeemed life include humility, love, patience, and building up one another (the opposite of what David displayed). In John, Jesus has crowds following him because they want a free meal. The lasting nourishment they truly need, Jesus teaches, comes through believing that God has sent him.
• Read 2 Samuel 11:26–12:13a. The Lord has put away your sins. How has God’s forgiveness changed your life?
• Read Psalm 51:1-12. When have you felt “unclean” before God? How did God restore you?
• Read Ephesians 4:1-16. Who has been essential in your walk with Christ?
• Read John 6:24-35. God’s presence in our lives is as important as food. How do you feed your soul?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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