In ONMB Blog

Blog Post: Chapter 9, “TOV Churches Nurture Truth”

As I consider truth I think of three different areas in the ongoing life of the church that are significant in the creation of a TOV church. Ultimately, biblical, doctrinal truth guides the church and keeps it grounded in who she is to be in relation to the world and to each other. Another truth is the difficult discovery of truth in various situations that occur in the church in order to deal wisely with them. Thirdly is a different kind of truth that is harder to discern – the truth about relationships. Am I honest with myself about who I am? Am I honest in my relationships with others?

The discernment and communication of doctrinal truth present the initial form of safety in a church. How is discernment carried out? Are principles of biblical interpretation used? Has there been a group of people willing to listen carefully to the Holy Spirit who discern? The methods of discernment speak to the safety of a tov church, as well as the final confession of faith document.

Safety is a ‘felt sense’ when the words we hear, the way they are spoken, and the ‘feeling’ behind them is congruent, truthful, and honest. How does truth relate to the Polyvagal Theory to create safety?  The Social Engagement System is a significant part of the Polyvagal Theory; it is ‘our face-heart connection. The vagus (heart) and nerves in the face and head connect to control the following: facial expression, eyelids, middle ear, mastication, larynx, pharynx, and head turn and tilt.’ (Deb Dana, LCSW: ‘Polyvagal Flip Chart; Understanding the Science of Safety’). Words and the way we speak our words creates safety when spoken truthfully in a mature emotionally honest and caring manner. In researching for this blog, I discovered that our tone of voice carries approximately 38 % of the feelings behind our words. Have you ever heard the ‘right words’ spoken by someone, while at the same time, ‘something felt off,’ creating a sense of unease or unsurety? Unfortunately, each one of us has the ability to fool ourselves or others with our words. Honesty with myself, my thoughts, feelings and motives are the beginning and ongoing journey to speak words that truly are truthful and honest.

Psalm 19:14 guides us to see the connection between our words and our heart: “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” And Psalm 15:2 – “He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart.”

Proverbs lead us into great wisdom regarding the way our words are said:

Prov. 15:1 – A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Prov. 15:4 – The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

Prov. 16:24 – Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Blog Post from Dianne Loerchner, Registered Psychotherapist and Elder at Kingsfield Zurich Mennonite Church

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