James 1:19-22 “You know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”
We hear: “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me”, but we all know that it is not true. Words can hurt us deeply. Words can break our hearts and words can break our spirits. Broken bones heal with time, but broken hearts and spirits, caused by words do not repair quickly, if at all. How many people have you and I impacted (positively or negatively) by our words? How many lives have been changed, for the better or the worse, with our words? Many people are going through psychological counseling for hurts, habits and hang-ups caused by malicious or carelessly cruel words. The Apostle James points out that from the same Christian mouth comes blessings towards God and cursing towards their fellow man. Are we too quick to criticize? Do we need to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger? Are our words creating lasting affects by building people up or gossiping and tearing people down? There is an ungodly culture in society today that delights in intentionally tearing people down, saying: “Making you mad, makes me happy”.
Psalm 15:1-3 “ O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend.”
We cannot be complimenting and cursing, or blessing and blasting others out of the same mouth at the same time. It is impossible as Believers to have a tongue that brings forth both righteousness and rumors. We need to be consistently in holiness. What comes out of our mouth is a reflection of what is in our heart. If you have an angry heart, than you are going to have angry words. Psalm 37:30 says, “The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just.” What can we do to tame our tongue? (1) Make a commitment to be in God’s Holy Word. Pastor Herk suggests reading one of the 31 chapters of Proverbs every day, along with one chapter of the Book of James. You cannot help but pick up something good about a righteous mouth.
Proverbs 15:4 “A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.”
(2) Think before you speak. Are your words flames or flowers to others? There are five questions using the acronym for the word “THINK” that we need to ask ourselves before we speak. “T” = Is it True? - Are your words the truth?; “H” = Is it Helpful? - Will your words assist in bringing about a solution and resolution to the problem?; “I” = Is it Inspiring? - Do your words build up people?; “N” = Is it Necessary? – Does it need to be said and what is the benefit?; “K” = is it Kind? – Does your heart care for this person and what they feel? (3) Talk less. Most times “silence is golden”, so let’s all get rich on it. The old saying goes: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” We have two ears and only one mouth, so listen twice as much. Be a good listener because people just want and need to “vent” (express and “unpack and unload” what’s on their heart and mind – they just want to be heard). You may not need to comment or speak or comment at all. Proverbs 10:19 says that: “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” (4) Say it tactfully. You are never persuasive when you are abrasive. (5) Say it lovingly. Never use truth as a club to beat someone. Ephesians 4:15 “Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (5) Say it Gently. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.” Being gentle means lowering your voice and showing humility. Hear your words in your mind before anyone else hears them … you may choose not to use them. (6) Build up others. Encourage others with your words.
Do you find yourself speaking “words of life” or “words of death”? Be “right with God and transform lives for Christ’s sake. Choose life/speak life. If you find yourself speaking poison words, then change. Be a dispenser in life with true, fair, goodwill-building and beneficial words. .
Proverbs 16:21 “The wise in heart will be called understanding, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.”
In Christ, Brian