“When I first discovered Jesus, I think I turned people off to Him.” Her words and tone reflected the sorrow in her eyes.
I looked at my Christian friend, this woman I knew to Love Jesus deeply, and was surprised as she went on to clarify.
“I so wanted people to know about who He is and His Power and Love and Grace, that I went overboard.”
What she meant was that she had spoken with authority but not with Love,
And without Love, we have no Authority.
I know what she meant. I do it all the time. Sometimes I even catch myself and still refuse to stop.
I hear the voice in my head…
“What is the point of saying that?
Why would you hit send on that text message?
It needs to be said, but could you have you stated it more Lovingly?”
And sometimes I say the words anyway. Sometimes I hit send, drowning out the voice without thinking too deeply.
My friend, early in her journey, tried to beat her faith into those around her.
Even now, I find myself compartmentalizing my faith rather than applying it to every situation, justifying my words with thoughts like,
“Yes, I should be speaking in Love of the Lord, but in this situation…”
So maybe the question becomes, as much of whether we speak of the Lord, as
how and when we speak of the Lord.
I believe my exact phrasing was,
“RED was everywhere!”
but in truth it was not EVERYWHERE.
Red was tastefully placed in splashes to highlight those areas where attention most needs to be focused:
the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
the statues of Mary, the Holy Family, and other saintly figures.
The floor was not painted red.
The pews were not painted red.
The walls were not painted red.
I don’t remember a single parishioner wearing red
although I’m guessing some must have been.
It would have been foolish to literally paint red everywhere!
And yet, the red that was there made a huge impact and a lasting impression, as we are called to do.
We are called to go out and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19)
And that means choosing our words wisely.
It means adorning our words in the Red of Love.
It means being silent when we have nothing to say or much to learn, silent and steady, consistent in our application of faith.
It means not interjecting our faith by painting every conversation red, but instead by being like the muted wood tones of the church, present and listening, open to those around us, absorbing what they say so we can know better how to respond. It means letting the simplicity of the Lord’s whisper overpower our desire to intrude.
When we proclaim the Gospel, we must choose our words wisely, tastefully applying the Lord’s teachings where attention most needs to be focused and always highlighting our speech to the area that most needs attention in this world – the discovery of God’s True Love.
The church was tastefully decorated in the Red of the Holy Spirit for Pentecost. As we work to win souls for Christ, we must mirror that church by building a solid foundation in Truth and then tastefully imparting the message the Lord has for His children by choosing our words wisely for the greatest impact, for the greatest Love.