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Speak No Evil

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Sue

When we become Christians our hearts are changed, and our speech should reflect this change. We begin our Christian walk by verbally declaring that Christ is the Son of God and accepting Him as our personal Savior. Romans 10:9-10 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 15:18-20, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man.” And He speaks to the Pharisees in Matthew 12:35-37, and again in Luke 6:45, saying, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”  In these scriptures, we are reminded that the words we use reflect the condition of our hearts. Are we full of cursing and bitterness, as Paul talks about in Romans 3? Or are our hearts filled with love for God and others, and expressed through speech like Psalms 71:8, “Let my mouth be filled with Thy praise and with Thy honor all the day.”

Proverbs is filled with verses that tell us of the power of the tongue, and the wisdom that comes in controlling our speech. A partial list of these scriptures includes: Proverbs 12:17-18; 13:3; 15:1,4,23; 17:28; and 29:11. Proverbs 18:21 tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”. And in Ecclesiastes 10:12, we learn “The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.” And in Ephesians 4:29, we are told, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.”

We are made to express ourselves and to communicate with each other. But words can lead to actions that bring blessings or destruction.  Arguments can lead to physical harm or even death. We can speak words of encouragement or discouragement: a counselor can bring hope to someone suffering from depression, while a judge may bring despair to someone sentenced to prison.  And it is with our mouths that we express our feelings to God and others. We should be consistent in our speech, instead of speaking blessings one moment and evil the next. James talked of the evil of speech when he said, in James 3:8-10, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.”

Nothing is hidden from our Father, and anything said in secret will be revealed and judged. In Luke 12:2, we are told, “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” And in Isaiah 59:1-3, we learn, “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.”  Every thought, word, and deed will be brought to light, and we will all need to answer for them.

If we fill our hearts with the love of Christ, then our speech will be filled with His truth and express pure thoughts. Our words should be used of God to express the power of His love, mercy, and grace. They should be used to exhibit our faith in Him. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15-16, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

James tells us in chapter 1, verse 19, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”.  And we are told in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Psalms 34:13-14 tells us, “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” These are all excellent instructions for us to follow, choosing our words carefully so that we might share God’s goodness with others. And remember to always use your speech to praise our Heavenly Father, thanking Him for His love, mercy, and grace. As in Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

In closing, I would say that praying the prayer found in Psalms 141:1-3 is a great way to ask God’s help in keeping our speech aligned with His word. “Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee. Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.”

Grace and blessings on your path,

Sue

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