Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"SHUT UP YOU IDIOT!" And Other Things Heard on Summer Road Trips

Yep, that's about right...

"SHUT UP YOU IDIOT!" was a phrase uttered from the back seat by one of us cousins on our annual summer four hour trip to the mountains. Inevitably we'd be at each others throats (and I don't mean figuratively). I can remember my grandmother probably wanting to kill us when she would peer into the rear view mirror with an almost plastic smile and say, "Unh, uh. I only want to hear edifying words." I didn't know what edifying words were, but what I lacked in knowledge I made up for in contextual understanding. Those glaring eyes and that plastic smile meant that if we didn't stop trying to kill each other it was only a matter of time before she would save us the trouble and take one of us out as an example to the rest.

As time went on I came to understand the word, "Edify" a little better. Edification is to instruct a person towards moral and intellectual improvement. They used it a lot in the KJV (That's King James Version for all you young-ins). And it's a nice word that gets across the meaning of the New Testament writers, but it completely misses the illustration. The Greek word the writers used was οἰκοδομή (oi-ko-do-me'-ō). Which meant to build up from the foundation. It's a word that should conjure up the construction of a building in the mind of the reader. Let me give you an example from the KJV:

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Eph. 4:29 KJV

But most newer translations convey the original illustration much better than the good ol' KJV.

No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. Eph 4:29 HCSB

Edifying words aren't just nice words, and they're not just encouraging words. They are words that build up a person in a way that is glorifying of Christ. The words we say should help construct people into the, "building" that Christ wants them to be.

If I'm building you up, and you're building me up we both rise together. If everyone in the church is building each other up the whole church is lifted!

We have to be careful about the words we say to each other. Words have meaning. The old childhood expression, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," is a bunch of bologna! Sometimes words hurt so much that you wish someone had thrown a bolder at you... at least you could hide under it.

This week pay attention to the words you say to your spouse, friends, family, kids, and even boss. Are they words that are building them into what Christ wants them to be? Life is too short to waste the few words we have.

QUESTION: Do you have a hilarious summer road trip story?