Monday, March 28, 2016

THE MEASURE OF A GREAT WOMAN, Part Three: Her Conversation!

"Let your speech always be with
grace, seasoned with salt..."(Coloss. 4:6)
There an old adage, attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt that goes something like this: Great people talk about ideas; average people talk about things, but small people talk about other people!

How true! Being women we are especially gifted in the art of conversation.  No doubt about it we love and know how to talk.  But this is the very reason we need to heed the words of Paul, the apostle more than ever.  The entire quote from the picture caption goes like this:  Let your speech be with grace, seasoned with salt that you may know how to answer anyone. (Colossians 4:6 (NIV).  In other words, as the old folks used to say...Taste your words before you say them!

For several weeks now, I've been encouraging you, my sisters, to strive for greatness! Not in the sense of the world but in God's eye--the only place it eternally counts!  I've reminded you that regardless of what you hear acclaimed as greatness, through media, music, and movies--mental, spiritual, and sexual, character is most important!  It's important in the eyes of your family and children (they watch and emulate what they see).  It's  important to future employers (your social media networks are favorite places to visit when considering you for a job). It's important to the Body of Christ (As a Christian you  represent God and His word to the world) and it should be  important to you. (If no one else recognizes you as the Queen you are, precious and priceless--you should).

I've put a  mirror before you from God's own word (I Peter 3:3-4) that proves that a beautiful face, fancy clothes, a sexy persona, or notoriety can't disguise a skanky lifestyle! You can dress a sow in pearls and diamonds....but at the end of the day she's still a pig!  Great women are much more than what you see on the outside. They are women of substance and endurance with integrity that can withstand anything that this fallen world can throw at her! Not easily imitated, but definitely worth imitating!

Now for the piece de resistance (the most remarkable feature)--her conversation!  Yes, beloved, here's where it all comes to a head!  You can have the right character, the right conduct, but blow it all with the wrong speech!  It's confession time!  How many of you have blown it just that way?   I admit, I have... too many times. I've said the wrong thing at the wrong time or perhaps the right thing with the wrong tone, or even the right things to the wrong person!!!  It happens my dear and that's why we need the discipline of the Holy Spirit --EVERY DAY-- to keep us on our toes (Galatians 5:22).

When one starts thinking of prohibitive conversations, the mind automatically goes to crude, profane, or demeaning language.  Well, you're right on target.  That kind of language definitely does not befit a great woman.  But did you know there are other types of speech that are as damaging to the spirit? What about these?
  • Negative Self-Talk - What do you say about yourself!  Are you, your worst critic?  Most women don't give others a chance to say bad things about themselves. They've done a pretty good job of downing themselves before leaving home. The damage continues when we take this attitude outside. How often do we talk ourselves out of great opportunities?  Before being asked, we list all our weaker qualities throw in a dose of the I can'ts, thus ruining a potentially fruitful conversation?
  • Self-Centered Talk -  Now this can go two ways, but the focus is the same---it's all about you! The conversation that starts out like the Perils of Pauline (always in trouble, nothing going right, everybody is against me) makes you the star of your own Pity Party cinema. You portray yourself as the ultimate loser--and who wants to be around someone like that.  On the other hand, a woman who consistently talks about what she has, who she knows, and where she's been is also unbearable.  A great woman never brags or exalts herself.  She let's her works speak for themselves. (Proverbs 31: 31)
  • Dooms-Day Spinning - All of us know someone who is adept at turning a perfectly inspiring conversation into a negative one!  They are quick to point out the dark and gloomy side of any situation.  Don't be that person! Stay positive and upbeat no matter how many bad things are happening.   Negative conversations have absolutely no redeeming value.  Choose to live with the hope that Christ gives you! Learn to take others to the high road in every conversation.  Stop, Look, and Listen to what truly great women do that keeps them unforgettable:
Whatever is true, whatever is noble,
Whatever is right, whatever is pure,
Whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.
If anything is excellent or praiseworthy
Think (and speak) about such things.

(Philippians 4:8)

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