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The Right Thing to Say

Was that “the right thing to say”?

Everybody has said that or thought that during a conversation.  However, different people mean totally different things when they ask that question.  The empath is thinking of the heart, and when he thinks of “the right thing” he is thinking of whether the heart of the listener was healed or hurt by the words spoken.  The logician wonders if his words were correctly understood, whether his “right thing” was accurate.  The authoritarian wonders if his words were ethical and just.  And we could go on and on.

Oftentimes we are at a quandary because what may seem “right” for the heart may not seem “right” for the head or vice versa.  We are unsure of ourselves, and unsure of others.  That’s just part of being human.

It struck me that Jesus never seemed to have this problem.  He always seemed to know exactly “the right thing to say.”  To a woman with a broken heart he was gentle; with his often confused disciples he was patient; with self-righteous hypocrites he was venomous; with the men who were crucifying him he was forgiving.  One time officers sent to arrest him returned empty-handed; they were so blown-away by this young rabbi that they simply told their superiors, “No one ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46)

Why were Jesus’ words always right?  We know that Jesus knew men’s thoughts (Luke 6:8), and in John 14:10 he explained, “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.”

As we strive to abide in Christ we can pray for the Spirit to “guide us into all truth” (John 16:13) so that we can serve as fitting ambassadors for Christ and always have “the right thing to say.”

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