Writer & Eternal Student
[How Not to Negotiate]
Published: Jnuary 19, 2007
Are you familiar with the saying, “When you know better, you do better”? Well, for all of you who are not prepared to do better, click away now. I’m going to share something with you that you might not want to have to answer for later; so rather than read this article and not do better, leave now.
Now that I’ve emptied the room, here’s my two cents for the day:
A Sunday or two ago, the Pastor at the church I’ve been attending challenged us to apply Ephesians 4:29 for one day. For those of you that are not familiar with Ephesians 4:29, it’s a book, chapter and verse from the New Testament of the Bible. It goes like this “Let no corrupt words proceed from your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (New King James translation)
In other words, if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone (“…no corrupt words proceed from your mouth…), be quiet. Not only should you be quiet if you have nothing nice to say, don’t be a brown noser and go about unnecessarily flattering people ( “..what is good and necessary for edification…”). To top it off, the necessary uplifting words that fall from your mouth should uplift the person/people listening (“…impart grace to the hearers”).
I took the challenge of applying Ephesians 4:29 to my life for one day. Hmmm, I don’t think the Pastor meant for me to rather forcibly yell “Ephesians 4:29!” every time I wanted to say something rude or bad about someone, but it did happen a few times until I got the hang of it. You see it went like this:
My teenage son advised me that he didn’t want to take a more challenging English class in school next year. Bottom line, his thought process was the class would cause him to put in more effort than he wanted to put in. Also, the class would interfere with his social life.
Here comes the challenge. I didn’t respond as I normally would. First, in a tone rather too loud for the existing conversation, I belted out EPHESIANS 4:29! Ah… that being said, I repeated it again a little lower and a little softer. I said it yet again, but this time my voice was at an appropriate level for the current conversation. Needless to say, I had my son’s full attention.
He watched me as I morphed into an understanding mother who, having had been a teenager once (a long, long time ago), understood his plight. I was calm and edifying as I imparted my wisdom. His responses were surprisingly well thought out and articulate. We continued with this banter for about an hour and a half (I don’t think I’ve got the Ephesians thing down efficiently, because the conversation should have been done and over in 15 seconds).
Here is where we left it for the time being: Because he’s taking many other honors classes, he is under the belief that this very challenging college-level class would put him over the top. It would prevent him from being able to play football, retain his high 90’s average and have a small social life.
As of this writing, the issue is not resolved, but the lines of communication are open. If it weren't for Ephesians 4:29, our conversation could have ended within minutes of starting and the both of us would have ended up storming off. I’d say this outcome is a definite improvement.
Having been so worn from our marathon conversation, later in the day my daughter inadvertently caught me in the throws of making snide comments. She walked up to me, cleared her throat, quietly said “Ephesians 4:29” and left the room. Talk about stopping me in my tracks! I’m a work in progress and have decided to “Do better because I know better.”
Now that you’ve read this, you know better, so do better. Ephesians 4:29!
That’s my take on it!
About the Author: I am Felicia A. Williams, a wife, mom, grandma, writer and eternal student.
Last Modified: 26 November 2020
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