In this article, we'll learn a bit about communicating with each other without worthless words.
In Ephesians 4:29, it says to not let unwholesome (foul, profane, worthless, vulgar) words ever come out of your mouth. Now, I don't know about you, but after a beer with some male friends on a boys night out, some foul words come out. Ya know what I mean?
But that's not what we're talking about here. We're not talking about some friends letting slip some f-bombs. We're talking about how a man can build a person up. Building people up. Blessing people with words that strengthen them up is a clear sign of a mature man, particularly when the words are specific, encouraging, thoughtful, or insightful words that need to be heard. Ephesians 4:29 is a spiritual truth from which to learn how to use speech that is good for the building up of others according to the need and the occasion. And there's a purpose for this type of communication. The purpose is to construct your words in such a way that they will be a blessing to those who hear you speak. Have you ever been in a conversation at a party, and you're talking with one or two other people. Then slowly you notice that a few others start to lean into your circle of conversation, and they start to listen to what you have to say, and you need others start to nod and smile as you speak in agreement. This is a moment that you see the importance of letting no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.
Ephesians 4:29 says, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
It's a Powerful Way to Live
Doesn’t this sound like a powerful way to live? As mature men, we want our mouths to speak that which is good. In the context of (or in the verses surrounding) Ephesians 4:29 are two verses that give us specific advice on how to do this. Ephesians 4:31 tells us what kind of communication to NOT communicate, to not use in conversation with others, to “put away." Ephesians 4:32 shows us what we can become.
What should we "put away?" Ephesians 4:31 says, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice." Let's look at this verse word by word.
Bitterness in this spiritual truth means like a poison. When something is bitter, it's sharp and stinging. Words can sting. Like a bad bee sting. They can't kill you, but man! they can hurt. Bitterness can build up in our thoughts and minds when problems go unresolved or when we hold onto grudges. When we have problems in our minds, our words are problematic. Therefore, we need to pay attention to our words, solve outstanding problems and issues with others, and "put away" bitter, stinging words.
Put away wrath. Wrath in this verse is like anger. Wrath can flare up like a flame. Anger can come out of us particularly when we feel tired. Therefore, get make sure you get some good sleep every night.
Anger used in this verse means indignation which has arisen gradually. It's like a lasting resentment. Prolonged and deep-seated anger needs to be resolved. Pray, ask for help from a spouse, consult with someone else, get help from a trusted friend or maybe even a professional therapist. To communicate well with others, we need to resolve all anger that's within ourselves.
Clamour is an outcry. Ever notice a loud, unruly man who speaks aggressively in a boisterous, brawling manner of speech. This is clamour. We want to put away this type of behavior. No one truly values an out-of-order, loud mouth. Those words are not graceful or good to the use of edifying, so we put them away.
Evil speaking is in reference to slanderous speech that is injurious to another person's good name. A spiritually mature man does not want to purposely injure another. But it can happen if we do not pay attention, if we are not mindful, of the words we speak. Therefore, think about what you say in reference to others. Speak well of others.
Malice indicates having ill will or a desire to injure someone or see them suffer. Simply, we are to put away all malice.
Out of the Heart and Buddha
Jesus taught that the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. The Buddha taught others about using the right kind of speech. By speaking kind and helpful words, we can become respected and trusted by others. Using the right type of speech is one of the noble eightfold paths of enlightenment. And using the right speech ultimately helps others to end their suffering. And what is the right type of speech? The Buddha taught other to abstain from using words that were lies, divisive, abusive, and idle chatter. This is called "right speech."
I agree. And this all seems to be truthful and helpful.
Ephesians 4:32 says, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32 shows us what we want to become by using good, right communication to others. We are to be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.
Become Kind One to Another
Kind as it's used here means good, gracious, and easy. It carries the sense of being mild or pleasant as opposed to being harsh, hard, sharp, or bitter. When we are kind, we are actively doing good in spite of someone else's behavior.
Love is Kind
The love of God is kind, as I Corinthians 13:4 teaches us. And gentleness or kindness is a fruit of our spirit (Galatians 5:22). Kindness is spiritual in nature. The sign of a spiritually-mature man is one who is kind to others.
Tenderhearted and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Tenderhearted requires compassion. To be tenderhearted to others means being benevolent, empathic, and showing mercy. We should show, conduct, and express compassion to one another. And in doing so, we become tenderhearted. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche taught that the foundation of fearlessness of a warrior king is when that man renounces his hard-heartedness and allows himself to tender, open, exposed, and fully present. A warrior king is careful not to enclose himself with a thick impenetrable armour, but allows himself to be open, soft, and sensitive.
It can seem very difficult to be forgiving, but Ephesians 4:32 doesn’t stop at “forgiving one another.” The verse continues with “even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” What does that mean? It means that for a man to become forgiving to another person, he must recognize that something greater than himself, the ultimate spirit of love, as has forgiven him in this ongoing process of life. We exist because of love and love keeps going. Like a river that flows. If someone has done you wrong, ask, "What's next?" Just as as the river flows, you have changed. You're no longer who you were before reading these words. And so, if you are to forgive others, you must understand that there's other processes in place that make that much easier than you think.
As we put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and all malice and become kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to one another, the natural result (the fruit that grows outwardly from the tree) will be words that are good to the use of edifying and words that minister grace to the hearer. This is an abundant and powerful way to live.
I hope you find this as some good advice for thinking, living and loving better. If you enjoyed reading this, you may want to check out "To Bring Suffering to an End, One Must Think."
In about 2 hours, you'll be surrounded by hungry people wanting to taste your meatballs and sauce. This meatball recipe calls for equal amounts of pork, beef, and lamb. We mixed in bread and onions into the meatballs, which helped them hold their shape and not get chewy or dry.
Make an onion mixture first. Get a big pot and put several tablespoons of olive oil in it. Heat the oil up for a few minutes. Don't let it get smoking hot. Just hot.
Chop up two or three medium-sized yellow onions.
Cook onions low and slow. About 10 to 15 minutes. Until they get brown and soft. Then, add about 6-8 cloves of chopped/minced garlic. I cheat and buy a jar of finely chopped garlic. Add oregano and crushed red pepper to your taste. Cook for a few minutes. It'll smell really good.
Split it. Put half of onion mixture into large bowl and set aside. This will be mixed with the meat. The rest stays in the medium-hot pot.
Begin the sauce. Add tomato paste to the onion mixture that's in the pot. Cook that until fragrant. About a minute. It'll be clumpy like mud. Add a cup of red wine and cook until it gets thick.
Stir in a the tomato paste. Stir in the tomatoes. I like using 4 cans of tomatoes. 2 cans of diced. 1 can of puree. 1 can of crushed. Pour in 1 can of water. Heat it all up for about an hour. Reduce down a bit and it'll get thicker. Not watery.
Add 1 cup of parmesan cheese. I grate my own.
Stir in cheese and a tablespoon of basil.
Add salt and sugar according to your taste.
Use a clean spoon to taste your sauce as you go.
In a separate bowl with the onion mixture, add chopped-up bread and a cup of milk. Squish it to make a paste with the onion mixture. This will help the meatballs keep their shape.
Add a cup of grated parmesan cheese and a few tablespoons of parsley to the mushy mixture.
Add two eggs.
Add 2 cloves of minced garlic.
Add the meat. I used 3 pounds of meat with equal parts of beef, pork and lamb. Your local butcher in the grocery store should have that available.
Spray two metal baking sheets with oil.
Mix the meatballs into about 1.5-inch diameter meatballs.
Put the meatballs on the sheet.
Cook them in the oven at 450 for 20 minutes.
I think there's something wrong in the way we look at the world. So, here's some free advice that might help us change the way we think and live in the world--hopefully for the better.
And it has to do with taking the responsibility of being in the middle.
Clearly there are various ways to see things. And when we change the way we see things, the things we see change. And if you change the way you see the world, the world changes. That's pretty clear to me. So, let's talk about one way of looking at the world.
MEANING IN LIFE
One way to look at the world and reality is to see meaning (or lack thereof). What is the meaning of life? Is there a meaning in life?
For the Buddha, the meaning of life is about helping others achieve freedom from suffering. For Socrates, the meaning of life was to seek a state of well-being, a healthy spirit, and the ultimate good for others. For Christians, it's about loving God, yourself, and applying biblical truths in serving others so they become spiritually mature and more perfect.
There are many other definitions of the meaning of life. And we're not going to get to the right answer in this article. But one meaning that I favor has to do with responsibility and being in the middle.
Responsibility is an obligation a person takes on. For the moment, let's say it could be the burden of bettering oneself and serving others in order make the world a better place to live. Something like that. And I've found that women have an easier time than men knowing what responsibility means. Its meaning is clear to many, particularly women. Women seem to know what they have to do. But men have to work on figuring it out. Most eventually do figure out what responsibility means. Mature men enjoy responsibility. Ask them. They like lifting the weight of the burden. They like the challenging task. Men enjoy going to work. That's for sure. They'll say, "I'll do it," when no one else offers to do so. They'll tend to sacrifice themselves for someone they love. And on and on. This is my experience with spiritually mature men and women.
So, if you're looking for meaning in life, check your responsibility. Check to see if you're working to make the world a better place by bettering yourself and helping and serving others. Responsibility creates a meaning for life.
Let's take a look at the opposite -- meaninglessness. Then we'll look at where you're responsibility should be located so that you have meaning in life.
I know of many people who live in a meaninglessness world and perceive living in world that has no meaning. Their perspective is that the world in which we live is basically without meaning. There's no point. For many, it's hopeless.
The meaningless perspective in life goes something like this. We live on a planet, one out of millions apparently. Located in an ordinary common galaxy, one out of billions of spiraling galaxies, each filled with billions of stars like our own Sun. And the reality of life, in this meaningless perspective, is that the universe is made up of dead matter that has by randomness arranged themselves in complex patterns. The human being is simply one fancy complex thing that has come out of this material substrate arrangement. The human body is complex, for sure, but little more than one of billions of biological living things on this particular planet that eats, poops, makes babies, and thinks of silly egotistical things to do and say.
NOT MUCH OF A FOUNDATION
In my opinion, this way of seeing the world and reality is not much of a foundation upon which to build a more than abundant life. I feel that this view of the world is wrong and nihilistic, which is a fancy word used to describe someone who can reject spiritual and moral principles in the belief that life is meaningless.
I believe there is meaning to life. There exists a good solid way in which to view the world, one that provides a reason to live and a way to live a life that is meaningful, abundant, and powerful. And it has little to nothing to do with our man-made religions and subjugating dogma that have imprisoned and destroyed ignorant people of the past. And it has nearly everything to do with God. What is God? God is not an old bearded man in the sky doing good and bad things. That's just silly. You might as well believe in Zeus or Gaia. I don't. Neither should you.
Let me explain by talking a bit about duality. And that's where the "middle" is located.
The universe has duality. There's off and on. There's 0 and 1. The world is filled with what you know and what you don't know. There's duality is physics (principle of complementarity), biology (male and female), mathematics (zero and 1), art (black and white), philosophy (true and false), poetry (love and hate), personal attitude (negative and positive), politics (liberal and conservative), and on and on. The yin-yang symbol is dual. And there's duality in your brain--you have two hemispheres with all of the connective action located in the middle (the corpus callosum).
WHAT'S IN THE MIDDLE?
The responsibility to create order out of chaos is in the middle. And there stories of a man who used to work in the middle of things in order to serve others.
Jesus was in the middle or "the midst" many times. He's was in the middle of doctors, elders, church, apostles, law breakers, Israel, etc. There's something special about being in the midst. He tended to get in the midst (the middle) before speaking or acting. He was the mediator between disputing parties, the path between death and life, the way from darkness to light, and the bridge between you and God.
It's said that all of us are to be of the same mind as Jesus Christ. What does that mean? It's easy to understand by checking out Philippians Chapter 2 where it says that joy in life (a joyful meaning in life) can be experienced by being of the same mind with someone else, by having the same love one toward another, by being knit together in spirit, both intent on one purpose and moving in the same direction, and living a meaningful life that reflects your believing and communication by your words and actions. The key to understanding this and other spiritual truths and statements about love is to know that this "same love" is not about emotion. It's more about doing things unselfishly for the benefit of other people and a willingness to work and seek the best for another.
Now, that sounds like there's meaning in life. And it has something to do with the responsibility of being in the middle.
Let's talk about what really matters in life.
WHAT REALLY MATTERS
The word "matter" has two important meanings. Matter has duality. There's the physical substrate matter that all stuff is composed of. And there is "what matters" in life. It seems to me that the world is made up of what really matters.
In relation Darwinian evolution, the brain reacts to the environment based upon what matters to it. Life evolves based upon what really matters to it. Biology is based upon this concept that a living being is adapted to reality, and the reality of life is what you've adapted to based upon what really matters. That the basis of biological evolution. Reality is that which selects over a course of evolutionary time, and what is selected is what really matters. Your brain responds to what really matters. And it's not just by random chance that your brain is split in two. Two hemispheres. Duality. And what really matters is located in the connection between the two hemispheres.
What really matters is what takes place in the middle. In the midst.
It seems to me that being in the middle of things is where life really matters.
The universe is also dual. It's made up of this and that. Your brain works well in figuring out the difference between this and that--what you know and what you don't know. That's the duality of reality. You know stuff and you don't know stuff.
The cerebrum, the big part of the brain, is also dual. It's divided into two parts--a left and a right hemisphere. The two parts are connected by the nerve fibers called the corpus callosum. That's where all the exciting stuff happens for sure. In the middle, between the two parts of your brain, is a ton of electrical neuron fibers connecting the two parts of the whole, working really hard, trying to make sense of it all.
Chaos is what you don't know. Order is what you know. When you don't know something, you can become uncomfortable and unpeaceful. That's chaotic. When you are familiar with something and your surroundings, you comfortable and peaceful. That's order. Your brain is constantly trying to create order out of chaos. Meaning comes from creating order out of chaos.
That's one way of reading Genesis Chapter 1 where God (spirit, light, power, love) creates order out of chaos (Genesis 1:2) by using truthful communication. And time and time again, we see from the verses that "it was good."
It's good to take the responsibility of being in the middle of things (where it really matters) and use truthful communication to create order from chaos.
CHAOS AND ORDER
Chaos is what you don't know, and order is what you do know. And the interplay between the two provides a meaning of life.
Where should you be? In the middle.
Where does all of the meaning come from? It comes from being in the midst and working through the middle and differences between what you know and what you don't know in order to create order, peace, and love out of the potentially chaotic world around you.
Be in the middle.
Think about it. You don't want to be in the middle of only chaos (that's too much instability and uncertainty), and you don't want to be in the middle of only order (that's a boring place). What you want to do is get in the middle of both or everything.
Get one foot in the chaos, and put the other in order.
That's the position and location from which you can create and live a wonderful meaning of life. The middle. If you're all in either side, you can't grow. A person grows when they're balanced as much as they can. When you're in the right place at the right time, you're likely managing the meaning of life, right in the middle of things. Thinking through and considering both perspectives or all sides. Moving between life and death. Seeing between light and dark. Deciding between good and evil.
This is the way to live.
Taoism is a Chinese philosophy based on the writings of Lao-tzu, who lived in the 6th century BC. Taoism means "the way." Jesus referred to himself as the way (between who and where you are and your destination of knowing God being spirit, light, power, abundance, and peace.)
And I think we ought to choose a way and walk a path with meaning. A path between (in the middle) of a world of chaos and order, yin and yang, right and wrong, life and death, love and hate.
Matthew 18:19-21 says,
Philippians 2:14-16 says,
And to me, that's a meaningful life.
We have a responsibility of walking the middle path to create order and peace from chaos and suffering in order to think, live, and love better and serve others as we make the world a better place. And it will be good.
FROM CHAOS TO ORDER
As I see it, one thing that really matters in life is when you make things a bit better than they were. You help change some disorder and chaos into order. You help put things back into a balance. You communicate truthful words in order to create something good out of a universe full of potential, disorder, and chaos. And to do that, you have to be in "the thick of things," right in the middle of it all. That's a good meaning in life, if you ask me.
Get in the middle of something and speak truthfully to make it good.
You may be interested in checking out how a man needs opposites.
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You need a man cave. It may not be the classic basement chill room with leather couches, lava lamps, bar and fridge, pool table, some weights, and gigantic TV. But pick a spot and make it your own. And pleasantly request from your lover and family, that the space is yours. Don't touch anything.
Maybe your man cave is a home office. With your table/desk, your computer, and books and papers all over the place. Maybe there's an old sandwich and beer under a pile of clothes. But that's okay.
It's your room. It's a place to get quiet, pray, meditate, and relax.
Manspace can have inside it some expression of who you are. Manspace can be about establishing your identity as a man. Any guy who has a interest, hobby or work is going to want some space to indulge that. Check out how to make your own manspace.
It's your cave. Your space. Your sanctuary. It's a mess? Sure. And everybody better be okay with that. Once in a while, I'll clean my man cave. It's a place where I paint, work on my computer, and listen to music. Loudly.
Compared with the rest of the house, my space is a bit of a mess, but it's organized the way I like it. And my wife's cool with that. My three daughters too. And I'm grateful for that. I'm thankful that my wife and kids have set aside a place where I can read, paint, think big thoughts, do whatever I want, maybe nothing.
Here's the point: I need a spot in my house to call my own. My man cave. And I recommend this fact for you. Wives need their husbands to have a man cave just as much as men need to have one.
You may be interested in reading about making a list for her to see.
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