You may have heard the old phrase, “Always preach Christ, and sometimes use your mouth.” While I am not sure that this gives a fair and accurate representation of what Christ had in mind in the great commission, we get the point, right? The phrase implies that our behavior preaches Christ too. While I suggest that we should be talking about Christ more, I admit that our behavior can say so much more about our beliefs sometimes than our words.
Ephesians 4:29-30 reads, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Whether in the work place or in the church, this is true. The way you interact with others will determine whether you will be seen as “different” or just like others in the world.
What does that mean to the Christian? Consider the following:
If we laugh at off-color jokes, we give permission to the person telling the joke that it is OK to continue this activity in our presence. If we fail to laugh, we discourage this behavior. How do you handle inappropriate humor? Do you let others know that you don’t appreciate it? This will define future situations with that person and it will get communicated to others because of your response. You might become known as the “religious” person in your office, but isn’t that OK?
What about how we talk about management or others in front of other employees and friends. In a workplace it can easily become a “we” versus “them” culture. If this happens you violate Paul’s command to honor those who employ you. “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:9-10).
Now, consider this…what about how we behave in the church? Do we speak against the elders? Do we laugh at jokes about leaders? Do we get in the car and make comments about how long the sermon was or laugh about a mistake the song leader made or the songs he picked? What kind of message does that send to our children? It isn’t “we” vs. “them” in the church. We are all in it together.
Give some thought this week to how your behavior “preaches” Jesus and what you can do to help build up the body of Christ.