While visiting with a dear lady recently she reminded me of something I had said when I visited her husband in the hospital five or six years ago. I honestly do not remember saying what she remembered hearing, however she told me it has been with her since her husband passed away. Fortunately, on this occasion what I said was helpful and comforting (I feel certain there have been times when I said the wrong thing)!
This incident reminded me of the importance of measuring the words that we speak. God has made it clear that what we say as well as how we say what we say is important. For instance, we are told that we will give an account of “every careless word” we speak (Matthew 12:36). In the very next verse Jesus said, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:37) The Apostle Paul spoke to the Colossian Christians about their speech. “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8) Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” (Colossians 4:6) We should speak in such a way that we bring comfort and peace to one another.
I have known Christians who think nothing of cursing and swearing. There are others who would not normally think of cursing, who regularly take the Lord’s Name in vain. Among God’s first commandments is the command that his people not use His name in a vain or profane way (Exodus 20:7) We cannot abuse the Name of our Father and obey the command to let our speech always be with grace at the same time.
There are other Christians who gossip or speak unkindly of their brothers and sisters in the Lord. Again, God’s Word is clear when it comes to this subject. Paul was concerned that he might find strife, jealousy, angry tempers, and gossip among the Corinthian Christians (2 Corinthians 12:20). A wise man said we should not even associate with those who gossip (Proverbs 20:19). Those who slander others are mentioned alongside those who hate God, those who invent evil things, and those who hate their parents (Romans 1:30). Even statements that are true about another individual are wrong if they damage another’s reputation. Some Christians think that they can speak negatively about someone if they believe it will “help” the other person.
In our world of tremendous technological advances we should watch the things we say through emails, facebook, twitter, texting, etc. We should meticulously read emails before we forward them to make sure there is nothing included that we would be ashamed to say. Christians are to always let our lights shine before men so that God might be glorified (Matthew 5:14-16). There needs to be something inherently different about the speech of a child of the King. Will those of us who claim to be people of God speak only words that edify, enlighten, and encourage? Will we allow our words to point people to the Savior?
Dear Father, help us to watch what we say to and about others. Help us to speak words that are seasoned with grace. Help us dear God, to stay away from gossip and slander. Help us to glorify You with our life as well as our words.