Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pleasing words

This week we begin reading the First Letter of St. Paul to the Church at Thessolonica. Clearly he had had a rough time at Phillipi and is having to defend his work at Thessolonica, reminding them not only of what he preached but how he preached it. We think of him as St. Paul and forget that for the people to whom he preached he was one of many competing voices.

His example is a challenge to all of us more than most of us might want to admit. He says,

we speak, not to please men, but to please God who tests our hearts.

Which of us, if we are honest do not seek to please others? Whether at work, or among our friends and family, we all seek some degree of approbation. That is natural. It is part of the desire to love and be loved. And Paul is certainly not suggesting that we walk through life speaking our mind with no concern for others. It is worth noting that Paul never speaks his mind. He speaks the mind of Christ.

Once more Paul's example challenges us to listen more, speak less, but when we do speak pause first to ask one question: would what I'm about to say make Jesus happy?