I was at a baseball game recently and I was reminded of Colossians 4:6 in a very vivid way.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6)
I was muttering under my breath so that others (I hope) wouldn’t hear me. I was complaining – again, I hope to just myself – of the play of some of the players and some of the calls of the umpire.
My talk was seasoned, all right. But not with grace and salt. More like with cayenne pepper.
As I became aware I what I was doing, and growing ashamed that I – a pastor – was doing it, I stopped.
And two things happened.
One, I began to enjoy the game more. I was concentrating less on the bad plays and bad calls and more on the good catches, clutch hits, and strong efforts of the players.
And two, I began to notice that others were doing what I had stopped doing – but weren’t as successful as I hoped I was in letting other people hear it.
They were calling the umpire derogatory names and making it clearly known that they thought that he wasn’t a good umpire. They were saying not-so-nice things about some of the players. They also didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about other people and even family members.
I don’t know about other people, but the reason I do this is simple. It is much easier for me to be negative than it is to be positive. I suspect that this is because negativity is a basic part of the sinful human nature.
Yet, since I am baptized I have Christ living in me. Still I must daily drown that sinful nature so that the new man – Christ – may rise.
Jesus Christ is a risen and rising Savior and He needs to rise daily in me. I need to come to the Word of God and daily ingest it so that this can happen.
I was making this point to a group of twenty-somethings recently. I’ve come to this realization in my middle forties. I told them not to wait that long and save themselves 20 years of embarrassment and shame.
Jesus lives, the victory is won! But it is still a daily battle against the devil, the world, and my sinful human nature. Thankfully, Jesus is still fighting for me and in me! I can win this. I will win this!