You Are Known By What You Say

Presidential politics normally gets important space from CNN, but this week the attention is even greater. The comments by Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist in Dallas, created a firestorm for saying that Mormonism is a cult and that no one should vote for a Mormon.

This Saturday, at our Men of Faith meeting, Pastor Brent Aucoin explained to us that biblically we are known by what we say, and we know others by hearing what they say. In other words, the only way that you can truly be known by others is to speak.

If you are going to create a firestorm, create it by being on message–not by making a careless comment.

When these two thoughts are combined, it becomes clear that Robert Jeffress, First Baptist in Dallas (to some degree), and to some degree the Southern Baptist Convention are known by the comments about Mormonism. Many of us have very little context about Jeffress, Mormons, or the SBC, but all of us now know that Jeffress believes an evangelical should not vote for a non-evangelical.

Regardless of your personal opinion about whether Mormonism is a cult or whether it is appropriate to vote for a person who shares a different worldview than you do, there is no question that Robert Jeffress has been and will be identified by these comments. We have to face the reality that whatever good things Pastor Jeffress has done, his public legacy will be based on one short speech introducing presidential candidate Rick Perry. That thought is sobering all by itself.

Here are a couple of significant implications:

Guard your tongue

James 3 warns us about the use of our tongue for good reasons. It is able to start a large fire with a small spark. One hundred good interactions with your neighbor, your co-worker, or a friend can be undermined by one careless comment. Even with your closest companions (spouses, children, parents, close friends), you can become known and defined by a few careless statements.

Strive to communicate on message

Christians should be on message with the gospel. They should be on message with their commitments to Jesus. They should be on message with their desire to be salt and light to a lost world around them. If you are going to create a firestorm, create it by being on message–not by making a careless comment.

Friends, we are all known by what we say. What we say reveals what we value, what we think, what we believe, and what we would like to see happen. May we at Faith Church be known for our commitment to Christ and our love for our neighbors.

Rob Green
Pastor Rob Green oversees Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries. A seasoned counselor, Rob also teaches others how to counsel--through FBCM's training conferences and Faith Bible Seminary's MABC program.