"Remind them to be subject to rules and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone."
Paul's letters frequently have some "catch-all" sentences near the end of his correspondences. Simple verses that are chock-full of "nuggets" of wisdom & instruction. Such is the case in Titus 3.
What stood out as I read it this morning was the 5-word admonition: "SPEAK EVIL OF NO ONE." We live in a "free country" where people can say what they think & feel. If you don't like something (or someone), you can speak your mind openly. But just because we CAN doesn't mean we always SHOULD.
It seems like we've become quite adept at "telling people off," "talking stink" (as we like to say here in Hawaii), or just "dissing" others. Sometimes it's our elected officials who bear the brunt of our ranting. Other times it's a professional athlete on our favorite team... or our boss... or an annoying co-worker... or relative... or even our spouse or children. Heck, even fellow church members sometimes are the object of our scorn.
How sad. Seriously.
Paul reminds us that's not necessary. "Speak evil of no one." No one. The wisdom of Thumper (from the Disney movie, "Bambi") applies: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Amen to that.