Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

The Right To Speak

      It seems to me that there are some words we must “earn” the right to speak. Consider the case of a young man and a young woman who meet and find pleasure in one another’s company. They continue to meet. Their joy in one another grows. They begin to feel those special feelings for each other. They begin to think of and act in the best interests of the other. Most of us understand that it wouldn’t ring true for them to be telling each other how much they love one another at their first meeting. Had they not spent time getting to know one another…getting to sacrifice for one another…the words would be premature at best and hollow at worst. No…it takes at least a bit of experiencing life together to “earn” the right to bless one another with such beautiful words as, “I love you.” Please do not misunderstand what I’m getting at. My goal is not to cause people to say, “I love you” less often. My goal is to help us think about the needed “context” of that statement. 

     I’m sure that you, like me, have heard of uses of that phrase that are a travesty. How many times has “I love you” been used as a lever to pry something out of someone that they really weren’t ready to give? Sometimes the words are just a thin veneer that people use to cover up a loveless relationship. I still remember the old man telling me how much he loved his good wife. The wife was sitting in the same room with us. She was a quiet woman. But this time as she listened to him proclaim his love, she couldn’t take it any longer. She looked at me with a knowing, bittersweet smile. Then she spoke clearly to her husband, “I’m thirsty. Would you please get me a drink?” As sure as I’m telling you this, the man acted as though he were completely deaf. After that, whenever he would tell me how he loved his good wife, the words didn’t sound the same to me.

     Jesus pointed out the folly of referring to Him as Lord, while routinely disobeying His will (Luke 6:46 along with Matthew 7:21). We can only properly call Him Lord out of the context of a life that truly seeks and follows His will. In the Old Testament Israel bragged, “My God, we, Israel, know You!” (Hosea 8:2) They were self-deceived. They neither knew God nor the dire spiritual condition they were in. Jehovah Himself counters their claim saying, “Israel does not know” (Isaiah 1:3b).  

     I was thinking today about how many times I have multiplied words. As a teacher/preacher I’ve had far too many of those moments when I felt way over my head. I would almost have an “out of body” experience as I thought about God listening to me. And I wondered what He was thinking. There have been so many times I should have shut up sooner. Too many times I have declared my ignorance on a subject and then spent the next thirty minutes demonstrating it. God forgive me. If I know my own heart to any degree at all…this is what I want. I want what I say to be true and for it to be reflected in my own life. When I speak of loving my God…my family…my church…my friends…and the lost….I want those words to be flowing out of the context of my life lived demonstrating the authenticity of my speech. I know…I know…none of us love enough. We don’t love purely enough. We don’t love as unselfishly as we should. I don’t. You don’t. That’s just how it is. But we are not looking for excuses, are we? The point has to do with our intention and our follow through as we are given the chance…the opportunity.

     I know all of this can be over-analyzed…so balance it as you need to. I hope you are able to credit me with the “right” or, more accurately, the “privilege” to say what I am about to say. I’ll take the risk anyway because I can’t hold it in. I love you. I am blessed to know you. Among all the other truths about your life is this…your life is a gift of God to me. I am enriched by you beyond my ability to relate. I don’t ever mean to take your friendship for granted. I am for you. Your good is my prayer. Your example lifts me. Your struggles engage me. Your victories thrill me. Your words teach me. Your perseverance is something I count on. I miss you when we are not able to be together. And I long for that condition to which our Lord will one day bring us…where neither miles, nor time, nor health, nor responsibilities will come between. Bless His Name!

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3 thoughts on “The Right To Speak

  1. This is something I have thought about, and actually, “worried about” would be a better description.

    I cannot think too much about this or I start to question myself. I have felt very detached from things most of my life. Because of this it is sometimes hard for me to really know what I feel … and to believe in those feelings.

    With God I would always question my “right” to ask Him for things my “right” to talk to Him about my concerns. Because I never felt sincere when I called Him “Lord” … because of my mistakes. Didn’t really feel sincere when I thanked Him either … because I was not really appreciating my blessings.

    I’ve had to learn not to listen to feelings and to listen to Him. Jesus’ death gave me that right and I need to remember that … inspite of what I may feel.

    I, like you, want what I say, to be real … to be true. Whether I’m talking to God or to people around me … I want what I say to be backed up with my life. I find that now that I’m able to be honest and admit I’ve messed up it is actually easier because I’m not trying to uphold some image. The only image I want to project now is Jesus … and I pray that people see Him in everything I do.

    Thanks Doug … you always make me think below the surface … I like that.

    PAIGE,
    I THINK YOU HIT ON THE KEY ISSUE WHEN YOU SAID, “…now that I’m able to be honest…” THAT’S REALLY IT, AFTER ALL, ISN’T IT? TO BE HONEST IN A RELATIONSHIP…HONEST IN ACTION, HONEST IN SPEECH, HONEST IN MOTIVE. YOU SAID IN ONE CONCISE PHRASE WHAT I WAS TRYING TO SAY IN ALL THOSE PARAGRAPHS. I DO THINK WE MUST THINK ABOUT HOW WE ARE RELATING TO OUR BELOVED FROM TIME TO TIME…BUT I WOULDN’T WANT ANY FRIENDS OR FAMILY OF MINE TO GET HUNG UP IN SELF-EXAMINATION REGARDING THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH ME. SO WE REALLY DON’T WANT TO OVERCOOK THIS. I ONLY KNOW THAT THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE WITH WHOM GOD HAS GIFTED ME IN LIFE, INSPIRE ME TO WANT TO BE THE KIND OF FRIEND TO THEM THAT THEY ARE TO ME. I WANT TO GROW IN MY ABILITY TO DO THAT. AND I GUESS THAT MEANS FROM TIME TO TIME…A BIT OF INNER REFLECTION.
    ONE OF THE MOST BASIC TRUTHS ABOUT OUR FRIENDS OF FAITH IS A POINT THAT I BELIEVE YOU BROUGHT OUT ON REX’S “MY DAILY BREAD” SITE…IT WAS WHEN JONATHON, DAVID’S TRUE FRIEND, WENT TO DAVID IN THE WOODS AND “STRENGTHENED HIS HAND IN GOD.” I HAVE READ WORDS FROM YOU ON YOUR BLOGS TO YOUR FRIENDS…AND I KNOW THAT YOU ARE THE KIND OF FRIEND TO OTHERS THAT JONATHON WAS TO DAVID. MAY GOD KEEP STRENGTHENING THROUGH YOU…BEFRIENDING THROUGH YOU…ENCOURAGING THROUGH YOU. IT’S JESUS WORK!

  2. I have had far too much experience with empty words in my life. Spoken from my own mouth because it was what was expected of me. Sometimes it was because I was afraid of a negative reaction from the “listener”…so I would not say what I felt and say what it was they wanted me to say.

    I have had experiences with empty words spoken to me. “I love you. I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” And none of those words carried any truth. They were hollow and dead. I believed them for awhile. Until even my optimistic, believe-the-best-of-everyone heart could not deny that they were lies.

    Those times are past. And I hope to never be in that kind of situation or relationship again….Lord please help me.

    I make it a habit to tell the people that I hold in my heart that I love them. I realize, however, that some people can hear those words easier than others and I try to take that into consideration. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable with the expression of my feelings.

    Doug, I don’t know you except through these words and through my friend Rex’s love for you…but you have a place in my heart. I love the way that you write about God. I love how you express the love you have for your family. I love the way you respond to hurting people. I love the way you love Rex. Your words seem so much more than letters on my computer screen…they reach in and grab my heart…thank you for giving so much of yourself here in “blogland”! I hope to get to meet you face to face….one of these days 🙂

    SHERRY,
    YOUR WORDS ABOUT EMPTY WORDS STRUCK HOME WITH ME. MADE ME THINK ABOUT HOW GOD MUST FEEL WHEN HIS PEOPLE BLOW KISSES TOWARDS HIM IN WORSHIP (ONE GREEK WORD FOR WORSHIP IS “PROSKUNEO” MEANING TO “KISS TOWARDS”) BUT THEIR HEARTS AREN’T IN IT…IN FACT THEIR LOYALTY IS TO OTHER GODS. SUCH WORDS ARE FALSE IN THE WORST SENSE. AND THEY ARE ACTUALLY INSULTS, AREN’T THEY? I WANT TO BE FREE TO LAVISH WORDS OF LOVE UPON MY FATHER GOD…TO OFTEN BLOW KISSES TOWARDS HIM. I WANT IT TO BE GENUINE. I WANT THOSE WORDS AND KISSES TO ARISE FROM A COMMITTED HEART AND LIFE, MAY GOD HELP ME. I WANT TO PAY THE COST(S)…ALL OF THEM…WHENEVER AND HOWEVER OFTEN THEY COME DUE…WITHOUT EVER KEEPING COUNT…BECAUSE FATHER GOD DESERVES ALL THIS AND SO MUCH MORE.
    AND, SHERRY, I MUST TELL YOU THAT YOUR KIND WORDS ABOUT WORDS I WRITE BLESS ME…I SINCERELY MEAN IT. AND IT’S NOT JUST WHEN I HAVE READ THEM. THEY ENTER MY HEART SOMEHOW AND LIVE THERE SOMEWHERE…IN A GOOD WAY. THEY HELP WARM ME ON COLD DAYS…THEY HELP ME KEEP TRYING ON DAYS WHEN I LOOK FOR REASONS…THEY HELP ME THINK THAT GOD COULD USE, EVEN ME, TO TURN ON A LIGHT FOR SOMEONE ELSE OR TO HELP THEM SEE, A BIT MORE CLEARLY, HOW MUCH…HOW VERY, VERY MUCH…GOD LOVES THEM TOO. SO THANK YOU. MAY GOD BLESS YOU, YOUR PRECIOUS CHILDREN AND YOUR MINISTRY TO ALL FOLKS, BOTH THE REGULARS AND THE NEWCOMERS AT THE OPEN CHURCH. MAY THE PLEASURE OF THE LORD PROSPER IN YOU.

  3. Rex Boyles on said:

    My beloved friend, you have the speak in my life to my heart anything … anytime … anyway. I crave your words … for I know the abundance of the heart from which they come. I love you … Rex

    YOUR COMMENT SPEAKS MY HEART TOWARD YOU AS WELL. I TRUST YOUR INSIGHTS MORE THAN MINE. I AM MORE CONFIDENT OF YOUR HEART THAN MINE. YOUR EXAMPLE HAS BEEN MY TEACHER IN WAYS PAST COUNTING. THANK YOU FOR COMING TO STAY IN MY LIFE LONG ENOUGH FOR THE HEART-KNITTING TO OCCUR. IT WILL NEVER BE BROKEN. DO ALL THAT IS IN YOUR HEART.

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