Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: Caleb Colley

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Today, it was my privilege to hear my daughter, Hannah, talk to a group of teen girls about the power of the words we speak. She demonstrated with a hands-on activity, not only the amazing dynamo we can create when we open our mouths, but also the huge responsibility we must accept when we use our words to influence another for good or for evil. I was convinced as I listened to her that I probably need to talk a lot less and I definitely need to “taste” my words before they pass from my lips. I give you today the introduction to a similar discussion from my son, Caleb, about our verbal communication. The article will be continued in a couple of subsequent posts.
by Caleb Colley

“But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:16). 

As an undergraduate at Freed-Hardeman University, I majored in communication and biblical studies, and my teachers helped me understand how the two topics are not only related but intertwined. For example, one of my college speech teachers, a great Christian man, told us to approach communication with the intention of being “speaking Santas.” He didn’t mean that we should dress up in a red outfit for our public speeches. As speaking Santas, he explained, we would give the gifts of knowledge and action. We would tell people the truth, and give them the motivation to act appropriately in response to their new knowledge. As human beings created in God’s image, we are capable of communicating the greatest gift of all: salvation from eternal death through obedient faith in Christ.
This is a study of communication. Of course, we have Paul’s explanation of the need for godly communicators: “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher” (Romans 10:13-14)? God has chosen human language and communication as the method by which people learn how to be saved. Of course, we must present the right message—the truth—but we also must learn how to present it effectively. For example, Paul wrote that Christians should be “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). How does one present the message of Christianity in a loving way? One thing’s for certain: It’s not through profane and idle babblings. Like an explorer slicing through the underbrush with his machete, only when we have cleared away the profane can we proceed to the pure, perfect communication God desires.
Paul told Timothy exactly what to do: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Timothy, though very young, was a great example of righteousness (see 1 Timothy 4:12). Consequently, lots of people are named Timothy or Tim. However, you probably don’t know a single person named Hymenaeus or Philetus. There’s a good reason for this. Unlike the young preacher Timothy, Hymenaeus and Philetus presented themselves unapproved of God. They enjoyed “profane and idle babblings,” and Paul condemned their ungodliness (2 Timothy 2:17-18). They had swerved from the truth (2:18, ESV). Paul predicted that their message would “spread like cancer” (2:17). Obviously, we need to avoid the pitfalls that plagued these two sinners. What qualifies as “profane and idle babblings”? If we understand the problems associated with this kind of speech, we will better know how to be like Timothy and Paul. (to be continued…)
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