In the movie “Bambi,” Thumper shyly but wisely said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.” Pretty good advice for a rabbit! Sure, there are times when we need to speak hard words, to stand for what is right and oppose sin or cruelty. But I for one have spoken harsh or negative or unkind words when there was no constructive reason to do so.
The apostle Paul had plenty to say about the subject. Check out these excerpts from First and Second Timothy.
“Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money…
In the same way, the womenare to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything…
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father…
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”
Then Romans 12:18 (KJV) issues this rather challenging command, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Notice it says “with all men,” not just with other believers.
When I was a teenager, we used to sing “They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love.” We will rarely draw people to the Lord, or encourage those who already know him, by being sharp tongued, critical or gossipy. And so, in the coming weeks, I hope to remember Paul’s words, revisited in the voice of Thumper, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”
What’s your favorite verse about speaking softly, kindly or carefully? Please share it with the rest of us via the comments box, and have a great week!
Photo by Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0. accessed at Wikipedia under fair use.
‘Sorry, folks, the real Thumper is copyrighted, but you can watch him on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I71cY9Ysy5U