The other night I received a call from an old friend. During the course of our conversation, he said that he had heard that I had changed churches. When I asked him what church I was supposed to have taken; he gave me the name of a church that would never tolerate my brand of preaching, nor could I tolerate their brand of worship. That conversation, along other incidents that have occurred during the past few days caused me to think about the matter of getting your words right.
In Col. 4:6, Paul said, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Among other things, that verse has the idea that we need to watch what we say and how we say it. Our words do matter. What we say does have an impact on those around us. When we tell something on someone, it hurts. When we spread a rumor on someone, it can cause them problems. When we gossip, we are working alongside the enemy to accomplish his purposes in the world. We should stop before we open our mouths and think about what we are about to say. We need to be sure that our words are “alway with grace“. That is, they should be gentle, truthful, godly, edifying, loving, thoughtful and wholesome. They should also be “seasoned with salt“. This means that our speech should not only reflect a Christian character, but they should also have a purifying influence on those around us. In other words, people should be changed and challenged when we speak to them. When we fail to do that, we fail to live up to God’s standards for proper use of our tongues.
Need I remind you that James said this, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh,” James 3:6-12.
So, before we speak, let’s remember the little verse many of us learned as children, which goes, “Be careful little mouth what you say.” If we can bring the tongue into submission to the will of the Father, we will be well on our way to a life of true holiness. James 3:2 says this, “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.“
The fact is, many people love to tell things. They could care less if what they tell is true or not, so long as they get to tell somebody about it. The child of God takes into account the feelings of others, the will of God, the truth, and the facts before he or she speaks. At least they should!
Let’s get it right, or let’s keep our big mouths shut!