“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV
Our friend Nadean has a game called Tabloid Teasers that we have played several times over the years. Players take turns reading the start of a tabloid headline, then the people not reading complete the headline secretly in writing. For example, the headline might be “Elvis spotted at _____”, an answer might be, “Elvis spotted at 7-11 buying a Slurpee.” The headlines are then passed to the reader, who reads aloud each plus the real headline. After they are read, players vote on what they think is the real headline. Points are awarded based on the number of people who vote for your headline. The number of points you receive dictates how many spaces you get to move on the board. We always have a lot of laughs when we play this game as people get more silly and the headlines more absurd.
Sadly, it has gotten harder to separate the news we receive today from fake news. Some of the statements made, or claimed to be made, have more in common with the headlines of tabloids than actual worthy news. Why is this? It goes back to our flawed mortal condition. Without the moral compass of the Holy Spirit, our human nature by default is one of, “bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Our sinful nature takes a perverse delight in the misfortunes and squabbles of others.
In verse 29, Paul writes, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.” Our hope is in Jesus Christ. We are to follow his example, demonstrating kindness and compassion towards others. Speaking only to build up and not tear down. As our mommas always told us, “if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.”
God, we thank you for your forgiveness and your boundless compassion and kindness. We seek forgiveness for our sinful nature that takes delight in the things that are in opposition to you. Help us today be living examples of Jesus Christ, let every word we speak, and every word we write glorify you. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.