In my last post I talked about how I often struggle with being critical, complaining, and comparing. So, I decided I was going to really work on this problem area in my life. I really want to be a positive influence in the lives of those around me, so I decided I am going to, “Be Nice.” I thought a lot about it and prayed, and thought some more. As I thought I remembered attending my grandma’s funeral so many years ago. I didn’t spend a lot of time with my grandma as a child. She lived in Michigan and most of my childhood I lived in Arizona and Indiana. But, I do remember spending some time with her. But, the thing I remember about her funeral is that, person after person mentioned that she was not only a prayer warrior, but a woman who never had a negative word to say. Wow, what an amazing thing to say about someone. So, as I was thinking about how to be more positive and “nice” I asked my dad if it was true. I asked him if he ever remembered his mom losing her temper, being unkind, or talking badly about anyone. He said no, that she and all of her sisters were known for not gossiping and not speaking ill of others. Again, I was in awe. How did they do that? Then I realized that even though my dad sometimes was loud or direct with us kids, he actually wasn’t a negative person either. Then it dawned on me, I know the trick, it is holding your tongue.
In that moment a light went on and a flood of verses came to me.
Verses from James chapter 1 and Ephesians chapter 4, verse from Proverbs all came to mind. Verses that talked about being quiet in anger, speaking only what is good, etc. But then the verse that really hit me was this: 2 Corithians 10:5-6
5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
But, I have to admit I didn’t understand what this passage truly was saying, and I wasn’t sure what it had to do with me being nice. I mean Paul is talking about himself and the other leaders of the new church here. He is talking about his witness and example to the church. What does this have to do with me? Paul is defending his words written to the Corinthian church. He is saying that it is necessary to speak out against wrong teaching, but then there comes the part that God was trying to show me. “Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” What does this mean? Paul is not talking only of his thoughts, he is talking about the thoughts and questions of the church. He is saying that they, the leaders, have heard a great deal of crazy, misleading, and wrong thoughts being taught in the church. But rather than just harshly and rashly coming down on the people for their wrong thoughts, he and the other leaders are taking the time to think through these ideas and thoughts before they start showing them their disobedience. Yes, they are going to speak truth, and point out wrong thinking and disobedience, but first they are going to stop and weigh their response against Christ and His WORD.
Wow, I got it. Being Nice is not letting people get away with wrong behavior. No, being nice is taking the time to think and pray and seek Christ’s way of handling a situation. So, when I feel like being critical, complaining, or comparing instead I need to stop and capture that thought and see if it is in line with obedience to Christ. Sometimes, when I am in the middle of a discussion I just want to speak the first thing that comes to my mind. But if I slow down and capture my thoughts and weigh them against Christ’s word, then I may find that my thoughts were not of Him, but wholly my own.
So now I am on a mission to stop and take every thought captive. This is not an easy task, but with Christ all things are possible.
What about you? What is God showing you in his Word, where is he trying to mold and shape you?