"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen . . . Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:19, 32)
AT our recent January church board meeting I led in opening comments and devotions before the meeting began. The above verses impressed me and convicted me. So this is what I ended up saying . . .
I hope we on this board in 2009 and beyond:
(1) Talk well.
That is, we make helpful, useful comments to each other. That we build up and not tear one another down, even in the heat of disagreement or hearty discussion. That we communicate to be both understood and to understand. And that over all our comments and body language and faces show and share what is beneficial for the other person and for the church as a whole.
(2) Listen well.
That we be attentive. That means we do not interrupt and we are respectful. That we seek to understand what the other person is really saying, not what we think he or she is saying.
(3) Forgive well.
That we do not hold any grudges inside or outside the meetings. That we practice openness and honesty about how we are feeling, but have a willingness to say "I'm sorry" when needed and necessary. That we function always remembering how much I have personally been forgiven by God for all my sins and missteps.
As we talk well, listen well and forgive well, I believe God will be honored and we as a church will move forward in unity, real joy and oneness of vision and mission. I would ask all of us to commit ourselves to such a fundamental task.