Vince Treadway, ACM Founder
Every few years I reread Dr. James Boice’s commentary on the Psalms, and I find I learn new things each time I read it. I recently read the chapter on Psalm 15 and was struck with these words:
Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on
your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue...
Just these few sentences seem like an impossibility, and yet we are called to strive for holiness because God is holy.
I was challenged particularly by the bold words, because it seems easy to speak the truth, but often they are spewed in anger and in sharp tones, intending to hurt the victim. How much better (and how much more difficult) to speak the truth absolutely free of any slanderous or hurtful tone or adjectives, with an intent to cast no slur on (your) fellowman.
I have spoken with many pastors and music directors and have heard many stories about conversations that ended up being divisive, hurtful, and caused rifts in relationships that were very difficult if not impossible to repair. I must confess in my own life to saying things in anger that I later regretted. A dear friend of mine once gave me excellent advice: “Never say anything in anger because you can never take back the words that have left your lips.” That advice has saved me on many occasions!
Our challenge from God’s Word is to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to speak the truth from our hearts with no slander on our tongues. I believe that our ministries of music will benefit from following these commands from Psalm 15, in part because our flock will feel more safe if they know they can trust us to treat them with kindness and love. I pray that God will strengthen us all to grow together in Him as we continue to follow His Word in the ministries He has given us.