Saturday, May 18, 2024

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葡萄樹傳媒

言語的力量與危險

By: Robert D. Foster

賈修亞.威基伍是英國有名的瓷器製造商。有一次他帶一位貴族參觀他的工廠,一位十幾歲的年輕員工也陪著他們參觀。那貴族的言語粗鄙低俗。剛開始那年輕員工被貴族的言語嚇一跳,但接著那員工的態度舉止顯著地改變了,他變得著迷於那貴族的粗俗笑話,也跟著那貴族一起笑。

看到這個情況,威基伍先生很厭惡且傷心。在參觀要結束時,他向那貴族展示一個特殊設計的花瓶。那貴族非常欣賞那花瓶精緻典雅的形狀和稀有的美麗。

那貴族伸手要拿過去更仔細地檢視,但威基伍先生故意讓那花瓶掉落地上。那昂貴的瓷器就碎裂成幾百個小片,完全無法修補。那貴族憤怒地叫道:「我想買這花瓶來收藏,你卻粗心大意地把它破壞了!」

威基伍先生回道:「閣下,今天還有另一件比這花瓶更寶貴的東西被破壞了,而且也無法修復。你無法使剛剛離開的那位年輕人對神聖事情再次恢復尊敬,那是他父母教了他許多年的事,你卻在半個小時內就破壞了他父母多年的努力。」

當我們周圍的人說粗俗的詞彙或用貶低身份的語言談論別人,我們如何回應「粗鄙低俗的話語」?我們可以用反唇相譏的方式批評那人,但這種方式對那令人不愉快的人會帶來正面的影響嗎?這是很有疑問的。若我們要有智慧地回應,就應該用威基伍先生的態度--溫和、謙恭且誠實地說出來。

我們在對粗俗話語的反應不可自命清高。不知有多少次那同樣的話語也在我心中升起。我可能可以成功地壓抑下來,但那粗鄙的思想還是在我心裡。聖經提醒我們:「所以,自己以為站得穩的,須要謹慎,免得跌倒」(哥林多前書10章12節)。

因此,這些年來在說話前我都試著作一個簡單的禱告:「我的救贖主啊,願我口中的言語、心裡的意念在你面前蒙悅納」(詩篇19篇14節)。

當然有時候--不論在工作場所或個人生活中--環境會讓我們想要說出冒犯或傷害別人的話。所以,我們要留意使徒保羅在以弗所書4章29節的勸勉:「污穢的言語一句不可出口,只要隨事說造就人的好話,叫聽見的人得益處。

我的一位朋友馬迪漢(Mart De Hann)建議以下的禱告:「父阿,請饒恕我徒然地稱祢的名,即使只是在我自己的心中。請幫助我們所有人認清我們會倚靠自我,就是這自我的倚靠使我們用這麼低級粗俗的方式表達高貴的思想。請幫助我們從自己的粗鄙看到我們需要祢的靈,然後我們才會說:『我的上帝,讓我所說和所做的每件事不是為了滿足自己,而是為了基督的緣故。阿們。』」

本文改編自「挑戰The Challenge」,這是由羅勃和瑞克.符思特所寫和出版的。他們不收費,並鼓勵人們複製,只要註明出處即可。若有任何問題或評論,請寫信到29555 Goose Creek Rd, Sedalia, CO 80135, U.S.A.或傳真 (303) 647-2315。

思想 / 討論題目
你(或你認識的人)是否傾向於不經思考就說話,或如某人所形容「嘴巴已上檔,但腦袋還在空檔」的衝動、不謹慎的話語會有什麼後果?如何能克服這個習慣? 在你的工作場所中是否有鄙俗、粗魯、或不適當語言的問題?若有,可以(或應該)怎麼解決?你認為是否有什麼時候粗鄙話語可以被寬恕?或甚至是有用的?請解釋。 你對威基伍先生回應那貴族粗俗言語的方式有何看法?你認為他的反應是否合宜?為什麼? 新約以弗所書第四章說我們應該只「要隨事說造就人的好話,叫聽見的人得益處」。在這充滿對工作要求,壓力和沮喪的每天生活中要做到這一點有多容易或多困難?若你想參考有關此主題的其他聖經經文,請查看以下經節:
箴言4章24節、10章19節、10章32節、12章18節、13章3節、14章29節;歌羅西書4章5-6節;雅各書3章1-12節

THE POWER – AND PERIL – OF THE SPOKEN WORD

By: Robert D. Foster

Josiah Wedgwood, English maker of the famous Wedgwood pottery, was showing a nobleman through his factory. One of the Wedgwood employees, a young teenager, was accompanying them. The nobleman was profane and vulgar in his conversation with Mr. Wedgwood. At first, the boy was visibly shocked by the language. Then the teenager”s demeanor changed markedly. He became fascinated by the distinguished individual’s coarse jokes and laughed at them.

Observing this, Mr. Wedgwood was disgusted and deeply distressed. At the end of the tour, he showed his visitor a vase of unique design. The nobleman was charmed by its exquisite shape and rare beauty.

He reached for it to examine it more closely, but Mr. Wedgwood intentionally let it drop to the floor. The piece of expensive pottery shattered into hundreds of tiny pieces, beyond repair. With an angry epithet, the nobleman cried: "I wanted that vase for my collection. You have just ruined it by your carelessness!"

"Sir,” Mr. Wedgwood responded, “there are other things ruined (today) far more precious than a vase that can never be restored. You can never give back to that young man, who just left us, the reverence for sacred things that his parents have tried to teach him for years. You have undone their labor in less than half an hour."

How do we respond to "street talk," when people around us speak in profane terms or use demeaning language about other people? We could react judgmentally, with recrimination, but it is doubtful that approach would exert any worthwhile influence on the offending speakers. If we do speak up, we would be wise to respond in the manner similar to that used by Mr. Wedgwood – speaking with gentleness, humility and honesty.

Our response to profanity and unacceptable speech should not be an occasion for self-righteousness. I cannot tell you how many times I have found the same language rising from within me. I might have succeeded in suppressing it, but the thought was there just the same. The Bible reminds us, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

For that reason, through the years I have tried to preface my words with a simple prayer: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord” (Psalm 19:14).

Certainly there are times- whether in the workplace or in our personal pursuits – when circumstances tempt us to utter words that would offend or harm others. So it would be wise to heed the apostle Paul”s admonition in Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

A friend of mine, Mart De Haan, has suggested the following prayer: "Father, forgive me for taking Your Name in vain, even if only within the silence of my own heart. Help all of us to recognize the nervous self-reliance that causes us to use such high thoughts in such a low and vulgar way. Help us to learn from our own profanity to see our need of Your Spirit so that we instead will say, ‘Oh my God, let everything that I do and say be not for my own satisfaction and self-serving motives but rather for Christ’s sake. Amen.’ "

Taken and adapted from The Challenge, written and published by Robert D. and Rick Foster. Permission to reproduce with proper credit is freely given and encouraged. For questions or comments, write: 29555 Goose Creek Rd, Sedalia, CO 80135, U.S.A., or fax (303) 647-2315.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Do you – or someone you know – have a disturbing tendency to speak without thinking, or as someone has described it, “put his mouth in gear while his brain is still in neutral”? What can be the outcome of impulsive, careless talk? How can such a habit be overcome? Is there a problem with profanity or harsh, inappropriate language at your workplace? If so, what can – or should – be done about it? Do you think there is ever a time when profanity can be condoned, or when it could prove even useful? Explain your answer. What do you think of the story about Mr. Wedgwood and how he responded to the nobleman”s harsh talk? Do you think he reacted appropriately? Why or why not? The passage from the fourth chapter of the New Testament book of Ephesians states we should say only things that are “helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” How easy – or difficult – is this to achieve, especially in the course of a day filled with work demands, stresses and frustrations?If you would like to consider other Bible passages that relate to this topic, look up the following:
Proverbs 4: 24,10:19,10:32,12:18, 13:3, 14:29, Colossians 4:5-6; James 3:1-12

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