Communication is more how we say something than what we say. While the words that we speak are very important, the tone that we use reveals the heart behind the actual words. One of the most powerful lessons that I have learned is that God's Word is more powerful than any of mine put together. But second to that important truth is the vital link between belief and uttering the Word of God. As "a work in progress" I am not proud that there have been times when I have found myself rolling my eyes, sighing with annoyance, or even snickering under my breath only to negatively defuse a positive comment, compliment, or statement. Developing our hearts helps us close the gap between our mouths and our spirits, allowing what we know to be true to rise to the level of His Word.
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasures of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks,"
(Luke 6:45 NKJV)
While revisiting a bible lesson, God brought to my attention how tone has never been alone. Abraham is the Father of Faith for many reasons, but one that I was not aware of until I noticed the connection between His tone and the words that He spoke. Interestingly, it was His wife who did the exact opposite. When God's plan was revealed to Abraham and Sarah they both laughed, but it was the tone of the laughter that got the attention of their Father.
"Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?"
(Gen. 17:17 NKJV)
We know that Abraham laughed out of anticipation, because before and after He burst into giggles while asking these questions, He honored God by obeying His commands. Even in his mistakes of trying to make his wife happy and deviating from the plan of God, his heart was to do the right thing. Sarah's opposite reaction, wrapped in the same outward response, was exposed by God Himself.
"Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" And the Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, "Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?" "Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son," But Sarah denied it, saying, "I did not laugh," for she was afraid. And He said, "No, but you did laugh!"
(Gen. 18: 12-15 NKJV)
Both Abraham and Sarah had been such "a work in progress" that God gave them new names to help change their perspective, but it was still a matter of the heart. Abraham spoke from his heart, but Sarah tried to hide her heart.
This response is very interesting, because most often when our tone is negative we do it in a subtle manner. Rolling eyes coupled with a snicker or two usually occurs as we are walking away from someone or turning our heads in a different direction. We know that it is not the right response, yet we continue on with the approach. In today's technology age we tend to do this on the phone or while typing an email and sometimes actually thank God that no one can see us. God would be the first to call us out and probably does, that is if our hearts are open to hear His correction.
The tone of how we speak is the window into our belief.
Christian or not most everyone can pick-up on the tone of our voice. Sometimes the tone is so strong that even the person speaking can not move passed it to walk in the blessings of the words being said. From believing God's promises to believing in the people that He has placed in our lives we are all "a work in progress". As I continue to strive towards closing the gap between my mouth and my heart I thank God, that just like He did with Sarah, He gives us many opportunities to keep moving forward improving our tone along the way.