One morning last week, as I read in Ephesians, the word clamor leapt off the page and got me thinking.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:30-32
Why did God rank clamor right next to such obvious sins as anger and evil speaking?
According to Strong’s Concordance online, the Greek word for clamor can be translated as “a shout, cry, clamor,” and “outcry, clamoring against another.”
For some reason, I’ve always skimmed over that word, instead searching my heart for bitterness, or my speech for evil speaking. But God placed each word in Scripture in a particular place, for a particular reason. So, he must regard clamor as being equally important for the Christian to “put away.”
I asked myself, am I….clamorous? Am I ever loud because of a sinful motive, such as anger or pride? Do I raise my voice to criticize others? Do I engage in pointless debate, in person or on social media?
Or, do I maintain the opposite attitude? Do I hold my peace? Keep loud, angry words in check? Cut off criticism?
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. – Proverbs 15:1
If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth. – Proverbs 30:32
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. – Isaiah 53:7
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. – Romans 12:18
Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. 1 Peter 2:23
Through the years, I have learned to guard against clamor. With my husband, I’ve learned that it’s more important to be kind than to be right. With my children, I’ve learned to step away when angry, and speak with them when I’ve had time to calm down and think clearly. And when others have strong opinions, I’ve learned that my own way of thinking won’t change theirs.
Yet, I still have a difficult time holding back critical gossip.
But none of the verses above said, “By your critical words ye shall transform others, and in so doing be an excellent example to your children.”
Instead, Christ exemplified softly spoken, gentle words, words that show mercy, forgiveness, meekness, and love.
How do you quiet the clamor in your life? I welcome your suggestions and comments.