Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. -Ephesians 4: 29
Have you ever heard the word “caustic?” Perhaps on a chemical cleaner or on a caution sign on the side of a semi? “Caustic” is an adjective that means something has the ability to burn or corrode. It usually happens pretty quick.
How about the word “Encaustic?” Probably not, unless you’re in the art world. Encaustic art begins with a flat surface or canvas. Heat is used to melt colored wax that will be poured line by line, dot by dot. Over a long period of time heating and cooling, the layers, lines, and colors eventually begin to come together as a picture. If paint is used, each layer must dry before the next is put on.
Caustic eats away quickly, and encaustic builds up slowly. I couldn’t help but read this passage with these related words coming to mind. Give it a try:
Let no caustic talk come out of your mouths, but only encaustic, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
When people we love might need correction, guidance, or wisdom, it’s real quick and easy to tell them everything they’re doing wrong and what they need to do instead to be a better person. Do those conversations tend to result in a quick and drastic turn around? Or do they usually sizzle the emotions and eat away at the person?
Paul’s encouraging a long game that looks more like waiting for paint to dry. Encaustic discipleship encourages a drawn out process of influence that builds up over many passes, varying colors, and preserves the relationship in a way filled with grace and beauty.
The kid’s song “God’s Still Working on Me” is no less true today than it was forty years ago. Week by week, lesson by lesson, God’s working on us with the same Encaustic method we’re talking about - building us up bit by bit. We may not feel like a piece of art because we’re a work in progress. We may not be able to even see the end result, but as He keeps dropping brush strokes and colorful layers, others might be able to see what He’s up to.
Let us treat others with the same holy approach.
See you at the art studio. -SK
Sean King is the Pastor for First Christian Church of Cisco.