Patty had a garage sale a few weeks back and we had to get up into the attic. I’d love to tell you had a great attitude, but I didn’t.
Have you been in an attic lately?
Let me tell you, it’s not the most comfortable place to be!
There are rafters to navigate, insulation everywhere,
during the summer, the attic is sweltering, it’s like 40° hot.
And to make it even worse, nails are sticking through
the decking on the roof! It’s not a fun place to be.
Proverbs 25:24 says:
It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic
than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home. (NLT)
You get the picture, right? Having a little bit of space with solitude up in the attic is way better than living in a house with an argumentative and quarrelsome spouse.
And let me be clear—even though this proverb is talking about married folks, it doesn’t stop there. It applies to all of our relationships.
Listen, we all know what it’s like to be around a griper;
what it’s like to be nagged, argued with, grumbled about,
misunderstood, slandered, or maligned, and we don’t like it.
The picture painted for us in our proverb makes it clear just how far
folks are willing to go to escape these kinds of attacks.
Griping, nagging, complaining, and grumbling…
…doesn’t help to build up, encourage, or strengthen anyone.
There’s no benefit to it at all!
This spring and summer with all that’s gone on in our world has created a perfect storm of harsh words.
People on all sides of the issues have freely, and in some cases carelessly,
used “quarrelsome” words to voice their opinions in hurtful ways.
So, here’s a question for you:
How would those closest to you describe you?
If the words “griper,” “grumbler,” “complainer,” or
“angry person” come to mind, it ought to make you wince.
As followers of Jesus, we’re not called to live that way.
Let me be honest with you (so no one thinks I’m picking on them!),
a few of these descriptors came to my mind as I thought about
what Patty might say about me.
Listen, I don’t want to be described as a grumbler or a griper or a complainer… and I’m sure you don’t either.
The Bible is clear: Being a quarrelsome person is folly—it’s foolishness.
Our words are powerful, and we have to decide how to use that power.
So what do we do with this?
Well, for starters, if this describes you, the first thing you need to do is stop and repent. Ask God to forgive you. Then if you’ve wronged somebody, go and make it right with them.
Then moving forward, think about the words you’re using,
make sure that they are good and helpful words;
words that would be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Remember what James tells us, (James is the wisdom Book of the NT)
“Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak and slow to become angry,
because human anger doesn’t produce the
righteousness that God desires.”
(James 1:19-20 NIV)
Paul says the same thing in Ephesians,
“No foul language should come from your mouth,
but only what is good for building up someone in need,
so that it gives grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29 CSB)
Before opening our mouth, we should ask ourselves:
is what I am about to say true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
If it’s true, kind, and necessary, then let’s say it.
But if it isn’t, let’s keep silent.
It’s wrong for us to just spout off, blow up, and lose our temper—
it doesn’t do anybody any good. Our words should be grace-filled words.
The words we use can be an accurate gauge of our lives,
Think about that—it’s sobering—because our words reveal
what’s in our hearts.
Jesus said, “the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” (See Luke 6:45 CSB)So clearly, what we say matters.
If we don’t want to be known as a quarrelsome person,
then we have to make “changing” a top priority.
And if we’re going to change our patterns of speech,
we’ve got to start working on our hearts.
We’re going to have to take every thought captive…
and make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says…
We demolish arguments and every pretension
that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive (like a prisoner of war) every thought
to make it obedient to Christ. (NIV)
This means It’s gonna take work to train and discipline our minds.
So, how do we do this? We start by living a Gospel-centered life.
By remembering what Christ has done for us.
We start by remembering that, God, who is so rich in mercy,
loves you so much.
That even though you were dead because of your sins,
he gave you a new life when he raised Jesus from the dead.
And now by faith in Christ, you’ve been united with Jesus.
You’ve been blessed with every spiritual blessing.
When you put your faith in Christ, he identified you
as his very own by giving you the Holy Spirit.
You have all that you need right now to live and walk in the grace of God. (see Ephesians 1-2)
And what is it that Jesus wants us to do?
He wants us to love God and make his love known to others.
(see Matthew 22:37-40)
One way we do this is by being kind to others…
kindness is opposed to quarreling.
Micah 6:8 says:
“He [God] has told you…what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?” (ESV)
The Hebrew word for kindness is hesed.
It means loyal love—loving-kindness.
It’s the combining of love and commitment into one.
We live out Hesed when we set our will towards love,
regardless of how we feel.
Hesed—loving-kindness—draws us into union with God,
and we get to taste God in the midst of loving others.
Here in Micah 6, God calls for His people to live with loving-kindness toward their neighbors.
“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will reward them for what they have done.”
I really love this verse! It challenges us the show hesed—loving-kindness—to others, to be gracious towards them.
And know this: the poor mentioned here aren’t only those without means.
They’re the helpless, the insignificant, the hurting and dejected.
Think beatitudes…that’s who he’s talking about.
In the OT God commands his people to be generous with the poor;
they didn’t need to worry about their needs being met because God would meet their needs—whatever they were.
God wanted His people to have a trusting heart, not a grumbling heart.
And if they obeyed His command, He would bless them and everything they put their hand to.
This proverb (19:17) reminds us of God’s command and promise.
When we show loving-kindness to others, God sees that as actually being shown toward Him. So whenever you’re kind to others, it’s as though you just extended a loan to the Lord himself, and he’ll repay that loan in full!
When we meet the needs of others—when we’re kind to them—we’re doing a service to God Himself.
Jesus reinforced this same idea when he said,
“‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:40 (CSB)
Operating in kindness is to walk the path of Wisdom.
Proverbs 11:16 says
“A kindhearted woman gains honor,
but ruthless men gain only wealth.”
Think of a person you admire, a person you wouldn’t hesitate to honor or celebrate. What are the traits that make them worthy of praise?
I bet words like affectionate, gentle, good-willed, gracious, friendly, thoughtful, honest, hospitable, charitable, and decent come to mind. These are synonyms for kindness.
I’d venture to say if you made a list of all the things you admire about this person, their wealth, position, or title would appear way down on the list (if at all).
Why? Because wealth is inferior to the honor gained through kindheartedness.
Galatians tells us that kindness is a character trait of God,
and it’s a fruit of the Spirit. (see Galatians 5:22-23)
Titus tells us that in “God’s kindness, He saved us,
not because of the work we’ve done, but because of His mercy.
(see Titus 3:4-5)
And Romans says, God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
Gotquestions.org has an excellent article on God’s kindness. It says:
Kindness is what leads God to give us green pastures, quiet waters, and restoration for our soul. It’s God’s kindness that makes Him want to gather us under His wings and protect us and keep us close to Him. Kindness induced Jesus to stop what He was doing and help others in need. Kindness is what leads the Good Shepherd to rescue us when we stray. When we exhibit kindness towards others, we’re expressing the love of God.
Being kindhearted transforms everything we do,
it seasons everything with God’s grace. (see Colossians 4:6)
My conclusion is this:
We need to value kindness, and in the power of the Holy Spirit,
determine to put a leash on our tongues,
because kindness changes everything.
Let me give you three ways we can leash our tongues
and be kind to others:
- Follow Christ’s Command:
In John 13:34-35, Jesus said, “I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (NLT)
- Be an Encourager:
Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today,
so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.” (CSB)
Hebrews 10:24 “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” (NLT)
- Choose What Shapes You:
Philippians 4:8 “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence
and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.” (CSB)
And one of the easiest ways we can live in line with these three points is by showing kindness is through the words we use.
Determine today to walk in the kindness of the Lord.
Father, forgive us when we don’t honor you with our lives.
Thank you for your loving-kindness towards us…it is undeserved.
Help us to show the same kind of love to others.
Please give us words seasoned with patience and encouragement to help us live in harmony with one another, according to Jesus.
We want to bear the fruit of the Spirit, we want to become more like Christ. Amen.