“Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 29:20). So if you do not want to turn into a grumpy old man – or to become a fool – then learn how to curb your tongue. And learn how to listen and read better. Just imagine how many unnecessary arguments and fights could be avoided if we followed these commands. And they are indeed commands, not mere advice!
I suppose it is not too late if you are still wondering what New Year’s resolution you might make. Well, as my title indicates, seeking to minimise as much as possible what many people turn into over time – a grumpy old man or woman – could be a real goer.
Of course sadly some folks do not turn into this over time – it seems they always have been grumpy! But old age can see an increase in this. And the obvious solution for the believer is to seek to be as Christlike and Spirit-led as possible. That is the ultimate antidote for most of our problems!
Putting Christ first in all things and saying no to self is the main way we press ahead in the Christian life and is the main way we can avoid heading into grumpitude, if I can coin a term here. But there are also other practical things we can seek to do as well.
The Christian Communicator
One thing we all can work on is being much more careful in how we speak, how we write, how we read, and how we listen. So many problems arise when we do not seek to excel in these areas. Daily conflicts and arguments occur when we do not take great care in these matters, and much of our grumpitude can stem from this.
We all should be concerned about the importance of good communication – Christians included. In fact, this is especially crucial for the Christian, since we have been entrusted with the gospel message that we are meant to share far and wide. And that involves communicating. That involves using words. That involves making ourselves as clearly understood as possible.
Yes, I know, our life should be a witness as well. But it is not an either/or – it is a both/and. We MUST share the gospel with words, but our lives should back up and reflect what we are saying. Paul in Romans 10:14-15 speaks to this:
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”
Some years ago I penned a whole article on this: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2011/12/15/if-necessary-use-words/
When I put up a post, say on the social media – even a very short post – I try very hard to make sure it clearly says what I intend it to say so it will not unnecessarily be misunderstood. Yet it always amazes me how often someone will come along and totally miss the point of what I am saying, or totally misconstrue it.
Worse yet, they will attack what they thought I said instead of what I actually said. This happens far too often. The truth is, we should be just as careful in our reading and listening as we are in our speaking and writing. Scripture speaks to this matter quite often.
James for example puts it this way: “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19). Sadly we usually reverse the order here. And there are plenty of Proverbs that address this matter. Here are just a few of them:
Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.