by Richard Mansel, managing editor
Christians must always be sensitive to what they say. Scripture says that the tongue can set our world on fire (James 3:5). Souls matter more than anything else and we must do all we can not to lead them away from God (Matthew 16:26).
In a sense, everything Christians do involves evangelism. Our words and deeds must all be focused on glorifying God (Ephesians 3:20-21). When we violate these goals, we endanger our godly influence and threaten the work of the Lord.
When we are talking to Christians and non-Christians, what we say and how we phrase it will speak for or against God. Accordingly, we must very aware of our speech and demeanor.
Evangelistic talk (ET) means that we see all of life as evangelism and we utilize wisdom at all times. Each time we engage someone, we can do harm or good for their souls.
For example, an unfaithful Christian walks into the building for worship on Sunday morning. With negative evangelistic talk we would say something like, “Where have you been?” We have likely destroyed any chance at their repentance. We should have expressed how thrilled we were to see them and asked them to sit with us.
From the pulpit (in announcements, classes and sermons) we must be careful what we say. Berating the congregation in front of visitors is disastrous. They will have every excuse not to return.
Reproving and rebuking can be done in love and gentleness, if we are wise.
Do we give this any thought when we talk to other Christians? Do we insult weak Christians without realizing it and then wonder why they leave? Are we condescending when we should be gracious?
It is like a marriage. No one in the history of the world has ever become a better husband or wife as a result of nagging. Yet, we think that nagging will improve people’s giving and attendance. On the other hand, positive ET would give them a reason to want to be better and to grow.
“And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness And of Your praise all the day long” (Psalm 35:28).
If this would constitute all of our evangelistic talk, the Lord’s church would thrive and unity would have a better chance.
Love, grace and mercy should saturate our speech as Christians. We can still stand strong for the Word while using positive ET with the world and our brethren. Souls depend on it.