What a Bunch of Weirdos
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt . . . Colossians 4:5-6
Recently, while talking with friends, someone else’s name came up. It wasn’t a critical conversation until I contributed that I thought this person was quite weird. Mine wasn’t a moral critique. This individual hasn’t wronged me in any way. I have no reason to speak rudely about them. This person’s offense was that he or she just doesn’t think or act like me, and so I pronounced judgment. Weirdo. Right now, some of you are wondering if I could have been talking about you. I can virtually guarantee that if you’re reading this blog, it wasn’t about you, but still, the fact that you’re worried about me talking negatively about you is a problem.
I just naturally think that my way is always right and that anyone who doesn’t subscribe to my same thought and behavior pattern is, by definition, weird. It’s a condescending blanket statement that I can apply to anyone who is different than me. The ironic thing is that I’m quite sure that most of those of whom I may be critical, probably think I’m the weird one. After all, I’m the one who lost my job due to an addiction. I’m the one who now vomits out my private thoughts in a daily blog. If I was in a police lineup and you had to choose the weirdo, I’d be the obvious pick.
In today’s passage, Paul taught we must be gracious in how we talk about others. We shouldn’t just blurt out our impulsive thoughts, but rather, we must choose our words wisely, being both truthful and kind.
The problem with my “weirdo” statement is that it’s not gracious, but rather, it’s judgmental. In judging, I indulge in my pride, insisting that I’m better than. This was the flaw of the pharisee who prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men” (Luke 18:11). In proclaiming my superiority and self-sufficiency, I’m blind to my ongoing need for God. My pride always turns me towards self and away from the father. In this condition, I’m worse off than in my drug addiction. At least in my addiction, I knew I needed help. In my pride, I think I’m fine just the way I am.
As someone who claims to follow Christ, others observe what I say. Do I criticized others just to make myself look better? Or, is my speech full of grace and truth? Yes, the world is full of weirdos, but I’m one of them. We all have our own story and God loves us all. My words and actions should reflect that.