I mentioned on Facebook last week that over the past couple months, I have been considering the many scriptures that relate to our speech and our kindness to others…or lack thereof. Respectfulness and kindness to others unfortunately seems to be a vanishing commodity these days…even among professing Christians…which is tragic. We are supposed to be different. Others are supposed to see…and hear the love of Christ in us. If all we do at work, in our homes, in the checkout line, etc…is grumble and complain, and give everyone who irritates us a piece of our mind, quite honestly…we are sinning against God. We are hindering, and not helping to spread the gospel. If our speech did not matter so much, why then would God’s Word address this very issue in many more portions of scripture than I can even go into in a 2 part blog post?!
I will address our speech that is directed toward others next week in Part 2. For now I want to focus on where this “wrong speech” comes from and what we can do about it. It begins with our hearts…and minds. Sometimes we may not even realize the things that we are harboring in our hearts that cause our attitudes and speech to be unrighteous and hurtful. Also, we need to take a serious look at what we are filling our minds with. If we have a steady diet of worldly things (music, movies, books and magazines, etc.), and none or practically none of God’s Word, praise music, and godly teaching, we are starving our spirits and will behave no differently than the world. Hear me please! I am not saying that we should never watch any TV or movies, or never listen to any music other than Christian music! I am not saying we should never pick up a book or magazine other than Christian ones! What I am saying is that if we are to live godly and set apart lives as we are called to live, we have to more seriously consider what God’s Word has to say about this subject. Then we each consider and obey what He is directing each of us personally to do.
1 Peter 1:15-16 says: “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” God does not leave us on our own here. His Word truly speaks for itself. We just need to read, study and obey it! In Romans 12:2 we are told: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Ephesians 4:23 also tells us to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” God’s Word teaches us, convicts us, refreshes and renews us.
Proverbs 15:28a tells us: “The heart of the righteous studies (or ponders) how to answer…”. Proverbs 16:23 says: “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips.” In Matthew 12:34b where Jesus was speaking to the self-righteous Pharisees, He said: “…for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” It is repeated in Luke 6:45.
Philippians 4:13 says: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines grumbling as: “to complain quietly about something; to mutter in discontent.” It also defines disputing as: “to engage in argument: debate: to argue irritably or with irritating persistence.” Those are some issues of the heart. We all get upset over things. We all get frustrated. But that is precisely when we need to turn to God in prayer, asking Him to “set a guard O’ Lord over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3. We need to pray as in Psalm 139:23-24 (paraphrased), Search me O God, and know my heart. If there is any wickedness in me, cleanse me and lead me in Your way!
Galatians 5:25 tells us if we live in the Spirit, we are to walk in the Spirit. What does it mean to “walk in the Spirit”? It simply means to let Him direct us! It means that everything we do or say should ultimately be pleasing to Him. When our thinking shifts from only obeying God’s commands to avoid difficulty or punishment, to obeying because we don’t want to hurt the heart of God, we have taken a radically huge step in our relationship with the Living God!
Proverbs 4:23 says: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” I will close with this statement from David Jeremiah: “Our lips are the barometer of the heart, and His praise should be continually in our mouths. Today, try to restrain the complaining spirit; in everything give thanks.”
Oh friends, I hope I haven’t scared you away! I have been speaking to myself as well! As I have pondered over these and many other scriptures the past couple months, I have come under conviction myself. My heart has also become heavy as I listen to so many of the conversations around me…and realizing how we must be hurting God’s heart…yet we aren’t even seeing it! It starts with a change in our own hearts, by truly seeking God, and feeding our minds some good and godly things.
Please feel free to comment. I don’t mind a little healthy discussion! 😉 Part 2, Lord willing next Wednesday!