G’day and welcome to Partake and our series looking at some of the issues facing Christian Disciples in the twenty first century. Last time we looked at Materialism, and today we look at something that has the capability of affecting every person on the planet.
Jesus, our Master, said in Matthew Chapter 12 “How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, which gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is blight on the orchard. Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.” Jesus took words extremely seriously and so must we for we are a result of our speech and we will be judged for what we say.
Have you guessed what issue we will be talking about? Yes – that’s right – the issue is about Words! Words matter and for the Christian disciple they are off the utmost importance as the building blocks of communication: whether by thought or through the tongue. One of the greatest sins of the twenty first century, that all Christian Disciples need to be wary of, is the use of words. Communication, which is cynical, sarcastic, murderous and discouraging, surrounds us and we are coerced to join in, when in fact we should be standing alone against it. The twenty first century is the communications century – everything can be communicated around the world at the click of a mouse button. What we say, think and write has the potential to be a sinful action of sinful inaction. Regardless of what other people say or do, we are to speak, think and write without sinning. Let those be responsible before God for their own actions and inactions – you are only responsible for yours!
Words are the central means of communication regardless of our language, nationality or culture. Needless to say that every one of us has either been hurt, or has hurt others, by communicated words. The power of the tongue in communication and speech is awesome. It has the power of life & death and those who love it will eat & bear its fruit. The tongue is a fire, which left unguarded, can corrupt the whole body and set the whole course of life on fire. We need to watch the words we speak and control our speech, or it will control us.
A Right Use!
So what is a right use of the tongue in communicating? We are to use our words to nourish others, encourage and lift them up. For the tongue of the righteous is choice silver. (Prov.10:21). Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet in the soul and healing to the bones. We find that if we give an apt reply we will find joy and discover the goodness and healing a timely word brings! But we are not to speak glibly and hypocritically but with truth, sincerity and love – as a mother speaks to her daughter.
How can we guard its use? By asking the Holy Spirit to watch over our lips and set a guard over our mouth, according to the Psalmist in Psalm 141:3. It is a measure of wisdom to speak words when required and with discernment. Any fool can speak words all the time, but sometimes there is a need for silence, for even then foolish people are thought to be wise. Frequently, we are told by the world to be quick to speak and slow to listen. But as Christian Disciples we are to do the opposite, and stand alone against it! We are to be slow to speak and quick to listen, according to James 1:19.
Jesus’ words encouraged and healed, such as to the woman caught in adultery, when he used discernment and wisdom. He actively encouraged others gently towards paths of right living. He spoke words lovingly to his mother. He even spoke words of kindness whilst He hung from His cross, during his last moments before death! He is to be our guide and Master in the use of speech, thoughts and words. That is not to say he didn’t rebuke with an attitude of love, as he most certainly did on occasion to the Pharisees and other religious leaders.
Matthew 5v21-22 is an example of the seriousness of words. Jesus speaking: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
Here Jesus equates calling somebody a fool with the physical act of murder! Murder has its beginning in anger developing into uncontrollable rage! Words, thoughts and attitudes of anger can lead the Christian Disciple to sin even more if they aren’t stopped quickly. Similarly, adultery has its beginning in lustful thoughts! The words we formulate in our minds and those that proceed via our mouths are of utmost importance to God and therefore should be of utmost importance to us! Let the words you communicate and think about, be like those of Jesus – “full of grace”. Do not sin, either in your deeds, in your thinking and all means of communicating.
How are you doing?
How are you doing in your use of words? Are your actions backing up your words? Are the words you use always full of grace, uplifting, encouraging and building! Sure there are times when words are to be used for rebuking in love, but always used under the control of the Holy Spirit. The words you speak reflect your inner attitudes, your inner thoughts and your inner being. The words you speak and communicate reflect who you are. If the words you communicate are derogatory, inflaming and cursory then that reflects your inner thoughts and attitudes. Control your tongue, commands James. A person who controls their tongue can be likened to a ship with a rudder, and able to be steered to safety! An uncontrolled tongue reflects a ship that is heading into dangerous water! Your words and all your communication have the power to bring life and encouragement but also on the contrary, has the power to bring corruption, degradation and death. Let the Holy Spirit who lives inside you if you are a Christian Disciple; help you to use your words for the supreme glory of Jesus Christ, who after all is your Master! By doing that, you will truly be seen to be one of His disciples and be Standing Alone for Him and His majesty! He is to have supremacy over all things in your life, including your words! Make no mistake, one of the issues facing Christians and a possible barrier to standing alone, is the use, abuse and misuse of words.
For more to think about please do read James 3vv1-11. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
Q1. Are the words I speak, words that heal and encourage, or are they also used to hurt and damage people?
Q2. When I am talking with other people, is it for gossiping, maliciousness or are they for healing, encouraging and uplifting others?
Q3. When was the last time I confessed and asked forgiveness for my sinful use, misuse and abuse of words?
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