If you are married, I’m guessing that you know the best way to break bad news to your spouse, whether you realize it or not. Maybe it’s simply that you know not to talk about the budget after your wife’s football team has lost. Maybe you know your husband will take the news that your sister is coming to stay a little easier if you tell him over his favorite dinner. We do the same thing with our children, our friends, our coworkers — we have all learned the language of the people we love.
The truth is the same in every language, but it’s important for us to convey that truth graciously. That’s what Pentecost teaches us. The gift of being able to speak in tongues afforded the Apostles a practical skill to spread the Gospel message, but it also served as a powerful symbol of the importance of effective communication. Evangelization can only happen when you’re speaking in words a person is able, ready, and willing to hear.
Let’s ask ourselves: what is the language we need to speak to share the truth with the person who is standing in front of us? Is it the language of quality time? The language of concern? The language of laughter and friendship? The language of authenticity, of plain talk and frankness?
The Holy Spirit gave the Apostles the ability to speak in tongues, and it seems miraculous when we read about it in the Gospels — but only consider that we all have this same ability, in a certain way. The Holy Spirit can and will show us how to speak the truth, if we only ask.
— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS