Well, perhaps you don’t know the history on that matter. Just let me share with you what was really going on there. I think you’ll be surprised – if not shocked. I’m not meaning to tell ‘tales out of school’ but sometimes it’s just helpful to know a few things.
Isn’t it tempting to share the juicy pieces of gossip or to give someone the ‘real’ scoop on what’s going on! We all struggle with it – especially if, in the telling of it, our position is strengthened. But is it profitable?
Profitability was the Apostle Paul’s bottom line. It seems he firmly pressed the profitability filter over his mouth. He was conscious of the power of the spoken [written] word. If it wasn’t trapped inside or if a word slipped through his profitability filter, there was no retrieving the word afterwards. Once it’s out – it’s out. At that point, all you can do is damage control.
The profitability filter is preventative in nature. Before a word escapes the lip, the filter asks a series of questions:
Will this statement, I am about to make, be profitable —
- to those who hear me or read it?
- to a new believer?
- to a young person?
- to a struggling or bitter Christian?
- to my children?
- to my spouse?
- to the local church?
- to the non-believer?
When the Apostle Paul called the elders together for a final meeting he said to them:
You all know my track record how I served the Lord, “with all humility of mind, and with many tears and with trials…and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you….” Acts 20:19-20
He deliberately and strategically refused to share information that would not be profitable. He held all the trash and garbage back – only sharing the profitable stuff – things that would build them up. He shared nothing that would erode their confidence or dampen their enthusiasm for the Lord or make their hearts unnecessarily heavy. He was very conscious of the impact of his own words.
Am I conscious of the impact of the words that come out of my mouth? Expressing, out-loud, old gripes, sharing frustrations or even indiscriminately sharing, with others, doubts I am personally having can have a very negative affect on others. No – I am to hold back the unprofitable and only share the profitable.
This is especially relevant if you are trying to mentor a struggling believer or disciple a new believer. This is extremely pertinent if you are a leader of any kind. If people are looking to you for advice or if they respect you as a role model, then your spoken words (for good or bad) have an even greater impact. Get one of those profitability filters over your mouth quickly and keep it there.
Admittedly there is a little argument raging within that goes something like this:
But all that stuff is true. It happened, and it was probably worse than the way I portrayed it. So, if it is true, then I have every right to tell the truth.
Paul told the Christians in Philippi they had no right to even think about ‘true’ things if there was no ‘good’ in it. He not only had the profitability filter over his mouth, he had an anti-profitability scan running deep inside his brain to ‘catch and kill’ any unprofitable thoughts in his grey-matter.
Paul’s rule of thumb for his own words and his own thoughts was: “…if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.
Warmly in Christ
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