Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes into ruin. (Proverbs 13:3)
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:24)By Hope Moritz
Both Old and New Testament agree, if you seek righteousness and guard your mouth, you will have a positive impact on your heart and actions. And not only yours, but those of the people around you. Easier said than done though, right? We’ve all said things we regret; we’re all guilty of unkind, harsh, or perverted speech. It’s natural for us to go that route because we are imperfect human beings. For some, it seems to be their default to accuse, belittle, manipulate, insult, or condemn others; their words are like knives that hurt other people. However, this is the complete opposite of a follower of Christ. When you speak, can people tell by your words that you are a follower of Christ?
When Jesus, our perfect High Priest, spoke, even to correct people, He carefully chose His words and spoke in grace and love. His words did not harm the ears of those who listened, but brought restoration to them. Obviously, Jesus is the ultimate example of compassionate speech, and we can’t hope to replicate the perfect Man. But, as believers in Christ, we have the responsibility to follow His example as best as we can; to walk in righteousness and choose to speak as He would. When you post on social media, for example, when you comment on a post, when you talk to people who have opinions opposite yours, are you responding in a way that Jesus would?
Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is love (Luke 10:27). That means every. Single. Person. Not just people who look and think like you. Let’s humble ourselves enough to admit that we don‘t have all the answers. Let’s open our ears to the opinions of others, be quiet, and just listen. If you are trying to reach people with the Gospel and love of Christ, shouting your opinions and flaunting arrogance, insulting them, or talking behind their back, no one wants to become a Christian if they are treated as enemies.
Maybe this is not what you expected to hear, or maybe it’s not what you wanted to, but it’s something that God convicted me of when I was a just a fresh lil’ baby Christian, and something God reminded me of this week, so it‘s important to me. I used to slander and gossip, and sometimes I still deal with judging others, but as I draw nearer to Him, God has shown me that He is the only Judge, and that I have absolutely no right to hold myself in His authority. Proverbs 12:18 says ”There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”. Your speech has the power to restore. When you speak, make sure that your words are compassionate, full of grace, understanding, and love.
- People are watching, and listening to you. With God‘s help, you have the ability to bring the joy of Christ into someone’s life. Are you being true to your faith and exemplifying Christ with your speech? Or, are you talking like everyone else, and no one can tell the difference?