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Down with Put Downs – Clearing the Air

Gentle SpeechKey Bible Verse: Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.  – Ephesians 4:29

Bonus Reading: Ephesians 4:31-32;5:4

Fourteen men, including the pastor and elders, led a church’s weekly home Bible study/sharing groups. They met once a month for breakfast to compare experiences in their home groups and their own lives. The 14 became tight, helping each other grow in their leadership roles and personal qualities.

But then, beginning with a couple of men, put-down humor crept in. This spread. Their motive—to connect and have fun with shared humor—was right. But humor, conveyed in a sarcastic tone and containing an element of truth, carries a bite. Sometimes they walked away wondering What did he mean by that? This injected suspicion and disquiet, and undermined mutual trust.

During a church retreat, the Christian camp staff overheard, and became recipients of, this mocking banter. The camp director shared their concern with the pastor, who passed it on to the leaders. They discussed it as a group and agreed to put a stop to the practice. Unhindered by put-down humor, their friendships and sense of shared mission continued to deepen. And the entire congregation benefited from the cleared air.

—James Hilt in Wisconsin

My Response: A group I’d like to see agree to desist from cutting humor is …

Thought to Apply: Not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.  —George Sala

Prayer for the Week: Teach me, Lord, what it means to have a Christ-like tongue. Check my tendency to tear others down; prod me to build them up.


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