Have you ever heard the phrase, “don’t speak out of turn”? I think the first time I heard this was in kindergarten. According to my trusty Random House Dictionary, College Edition, this phrase carries several meanings.
First, and the one most applied to my kindergarten classmates, it can mean that you’ve said something at the wrong time — like you’ve interrupted someone else while they were talking, or maybe it was someone else’s turn to speak.
It can also mean that you have said something that you had no right to say, or you don’t have the authority to speak on. So if you make a decision at work that isn’t yours to make, it could be said that you have “spoken out of turn.”
Another way to interpret this phrase is to say that you have spoken unwisely. Who wants to be accused of that? How do we protect ourselves from unwise conversation, especially when dealing with the important issues of life and faith? Well, like I said Thursday in chapel, there is a reason and a way we do this.
Remember, in his letter to Colossians, Paul is talking to a young church, a group that has quite possibly only been gathering together for five years. They need a lot of instruction, and Paul gives them some sound advice in two verses, that I believe can help us as well as we move forward this semester.
The reason we have this conversation is because we don’t want to be deceived. If we’re going to believe something, give our entire life away to it, we want it to be truthful. We want it to be able to stand the test of time, and withstand the challenges that speak against it. We need to be able to discern what we can know, and trust God with what we can’t. I believe as we walk through this semester, God will be faithful by providing clarity for us.
The reason I’m confident of that is because of the way we’re told to go about it. Listen again to the words that Paul uses to describe this conversation: compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, love and unity. These are the “clothes” we want to wear, and the way we desire to speak and act with each other.
My prayer for us as we begin is that we won’t forget the lesson from kindergarten, not to speak out of turn, and that as we seek wisdom, we look and sound like Jesus. May our minds and our hearts be shaped by the wisdom and heart of God.
Text for the week: Colossians 2:8, 3:12-14