What percentage of New Testament usage refers to the phrase, “church(es) of Christ”? How often does the phrase appear in comparison to other similar ones? For the next week, why not try reflecting that percentage in your speech? The exercise might encourage some positive reflection.
It is so easy to let things slip from our mouths. Sometimes words come out in a way in which we did not mean. That’s true whether we are writing or speaking.
This week I was reading a post on FB and read a reply written when just for a moment I felt a tinge, a little disappointment, a little heartbreak. Though I don’t know the person posting except through FB, I thought that he didn’t really mean for his comment to come across as it did.
The song we sing, “Angry Words, Oh let them never from the tongue unbridled slip. May the heart’s best impulse ever check them ere they soil the lip,” reminds us to watch what we say and especially in anger.
The Bible cautions us to not let the sun go down on our anger (Eph. 4:28). Have you ever had someone angry with you and they carried that anger for days? Anger hurts the one who is angry probably more than the one to whom they are angry.
Again the Bible says, “Be angry and sin not” (Eph. 4:26). Wonder how many of us can claim that scripture when we get angry?
The prayer above, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my God and my Redeemer,” should be a prayer that we pray regularly.
I often say that we should accept people where they are and work with them from that point. It’s easy to be critical of someone and turn them off in our minds. If we look deeper and see where they are and accept them from that standpoint our chances of making a difference in their life is much greater. Some people don’t know the love of God and we must find a way to share Him with them by word, deed, or pen. Someone has said, “Never write anything you wouldn’t want the other person’s mother to read.” Better than that we might add “that we don’t want our Lord to read.” He sees and knows all things.
By Jamie Suiter
Oh the words we say
From day to day
As we travel on life’s way
Words that are good
Words that are bad
Words that made someone sad
Words that lift and inspire
Those lift us up and take us higher
On wings of eagles we can we soar
Oh how of these words need we more
Words that bring others down and low
Oh how these words need to go
As your words built a story of your day
Did they encourage any one on their way?
Oh how our words are such a powerful thing
Be careful how you use them
They can have a lasting sting!
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24
Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4
“For we all stumble in many ways. If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to control the entire body as well.”
In his practical letter, James urges his Jewish readers to integrity of faith and works, especially in impartial treatment of others. The big challenge is to bridle the tongue. It is powerful far beyond its size.
Some time-management people say start with the big challenges. Others counsel taking the small tasks first. In faith, at least, we know which one is the biggie.
“When words abound, transgression is inevitable, but the one who restrains his words is wise.”
A person who talks a lot is more prone to use words badly and thereby sin by their use. Though the gospel must be spoken, in daily interactions less is more.
Are you a talker? In what ways do your words tend toward transgression? What bad use do you make of your speech?
THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH
David prayed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14, NASB).
Someone said that it is easy to “slip” with our tongue because it is in such a slippery place. The brother of Jesus wrote: “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2, NKJV). Christ Himself said, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). Continue reading
We call little girls big girls and they are proud. I suspect calling big girls big girls would not elicit the same reaction. (I have not tried it personally and do not recommend attempting it, at the risk of one’s health and well-being.)
Words must be measured. The person to whom we address ourselves determines our approach. Continue reading
By: Douglas M. Williams, Sr.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matthew 12:35).
“Out of the same mouth proceed blessings and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:10).
“He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit” (1 Peter 3:10).
“If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11).
Last week’s writing was about ways not to speak, and now we write about using our speech for good purposes. Last week we concluded that our speech should be used in good ways to bless, praise, and glorify God and to be a blessing to our fellow human beings.
With this thought in mind, and as noted in the above Scriptures, let us consider a Bible example. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him” (Acts 8:35). Here the Bible tells us that God had sent Philip to meet a man that was reading a prophecy about Jesus from Isaiah 53. The result of that meeting was that the man completed his obedience to Christ and was saved as he was baptized.
Philip opened his mouth and spoke good things. What is spoken when we open our mouths? Of what do our lips speak? Realizing the tremendous potential – either for good or evil – of our words, let us resolve to use speech that honors God when we open our mouth.
The greatest message man has ever received is the gospel – the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Son of God (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). We should feel extremely honored to know the gospel, and to use our tongues to tell the world about salvation in “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8).
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
Written by Douglas M. Williams, Sr.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who take His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word man may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:34-37).
“But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth” (Colossians 3:8).
At the beginning of a new year there is much talk about “resolutions.” I hope you have made resolutions to improve your life, and with this thought, I wanted to write about our speech as a resolution that we may not normally think about.
The above verses, and many others in the Bible, warn us about our speech not only in what we say but how we say it. James has much to say about the use of our tongue and shows that our words reveal our character (James 1:19, 26; 3:1-12). Speech is the index of the mind and heart. Some may use vulgar language because of a weak intelligence, thinking they cannot express themselves without using bad language. Yet the dictionary has thousands of good words we can use instead.
It is a bad, evil habit to curse, swear, use profanity, and use God’s name in vain. We should also be careful and guard against euphemisms as bywords and slang. Some who would not think of cursing, plainly use bywords that are closely akin to cursing.
Bad language is not only a bad evil habit, but is a sin against God and society. It is a bad example that can and should be stopped. Language is guarded when women or certain people are present, but remember God is always present and hears.
Our speech should be used in good ways to bless, praise, and glorify God and to be a blessing to our fellow human beings (1 Peter 3:15; 4:11).
For example, on Mother’s Day, I always remember that not all women can be Mothers. In our exuberance to praise Mothers we can say something that will harm the childless.
Imagine being a childless Mother who hears the preacher say that God blesses godly women with children. The obvious conclusion is that she doesn’t have children because she is a sinner. Where does Scripture say that?
We can inadvertently say things that can offend people if we do not consider the larger implications of our words.
When I prepare a power point presentation, which are largely images, I give thought to how something can be taken. In our writing we must always consider this. Sometimes, I fail and people get offended. I apologize to them. But the better path is to try to prevent it from happening in the beginning.
We cannot always know what will offend people. In an audience, there are many people’s whose lives consist of events and scars that the preacher cannot possibly know.
Naturally, we can say things that cause harm without intention. Nevertheless, we can give every consideration to what we can control, in this area.
On Facebook, I just saw a quote that is intended to praise Mothers and Grandmothers. The quote is: The Best Moms Get Promoted to Grandmas.” That is sweet but doesn’t hold a shred of evidence in the real world. Accordingly, I would caution any speaker from using it in a lesson.
Countless Mothers have children who either die, are infertile or choose not to have children. What does it accomplish to brand these women as bad mothers? How does that help spread the Gospel and help anyone get to heaven? In fact, it may impede their spirituality!
Let us be careful what we say and use our tongue and pen wisely (James 3:1-12).
by Oliver Goldsmith
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
His looks adorn’d the venerable place;
Truth from his lips prevail’d with double sway,
And fools, who came to scoff, remain’d to pray.
Proverbs 10:19 says, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” Many years ago I learned that the value of a word fitly spoken penetrates powerfully. Though I learned this I did not always do what I learned. While I was in the USAF, stationed in Guam, I heard a brother in the Lord answer someone’s question about why he spoke so little. He responded, “I’m tired of eating my foot.” Those few words said more to me than all the philosophy classes I took in college. What is your impression of a person who seems to always be talking? My impression, sometimes, is that the person doing all or nearly all the talking doesn’t have much to say, but it is going to be said anyway. The context, of course, of the circumstances (and words) will determine how this is to be interpreted. The proverb writer does not speak anything profoundly spiritual. He simply utters a truth that any mature adult can understand. I wish, though, that many adults would transfer this understanding of theirs into actions. Someone has said that if you give a man enough rope and he will hang himself. I think I’ll carry a short rope! RT
David spoke of his tongue as a pen (Psalm 45:1) and his enemies’ tongues as sharp swords (Psalm 57:4). We learn that God hates a tongue which forms lies (Proverbs 6:17). Isaiah prophesied a future time so happy that it would cause “the tongue of the dumb [to] sing” (Isaiah 35:6). The ungodly tongue is described by Jeremiah as a “deadly arrow” (Jeremiah 9:8). James calls the unruly tongue a “fire” (James 3:6). (Read More at The Proclaimer)
If we will be skilled at social interaction, we must curtail and control our pet peeves, lest they gain a life of their own and devour us.