teach them how to edify

I've been disheartened of late at the destructive tone that seems to be acceptable in some church conversations. It doesn't matter if the conversation is directed at a program, a person, the direction of a congregation, or the church body as a whole. The communication is "I'm right, you're wrong." It can be carried further: "I am so right that I will damage your ability to carry out any rightness that might exist in you."

I am certainly guilty of carrying this tone. Particularly when someone points the destruction in my direction or towards a pet issue of mine. This diametrical thinking results in church families being torn apart, it produces anguish for both sides. It cannot be a good thing. And yet its prolific status in our congregations, churches, lives would lead one to think that it is an acceptable mode of communication and self-expression.

I have a very wise friend who gives me hope in my disheartenment. She maneuvers through multi-denominational, multi-faith settings as a center-piece of her identity. She listens keenly to every word a person says and can quickly intuitive the communication of their heart. She taught me a rule for conversation in the church: it must be edifying. Destructive words only lead to destruction. If the intent is not edification, it must be destruction and therefore has no place in the Church.

As a church worker, youth worker, congregation member, Church member, my role then becomes teaching, modeling, and expressing edification. Not as the Gospel itself, but as a communication that the Gospel lives in me.

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