Theological Thursday – Shhh. Just Stop Talking Now.

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What words shall I use today?

This is advice I often give my children when their arguing (or “explaining” as they would put it) is only making things worse.

It is advice that I do not follow often enough.

My big sister forwarded me an email devotional the other day that spoke of the importance of using positive words, when talking about others.  It really wasn’t the main point of the email…. Just a mention in the midst of a larger subject.  But… Oh!  The guilt! The conviction!

I suppose that this post is a bit of a confessional for me.

I, far too often, lose control of my words.

“Look how fat she is!  At least I’m not THAT big.”

“Maybe he wouldn’t be such a little monster if he had better parents.”

“ Doesn’t that idiot know he’s being wasteful?”

“I wonder where that freak learned how to drive.”

“Did you hear what Mrs. Down-the-street did?”

“I can’t stand stupid people!”

Now… as I go over this list of things I say on a nearly daily basis, I’m first struck by the old adage, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”  Someone may be saying any one of the above statements about me at any given moment.

But, more important, is this:  God intends us to use our words to uplift, encourage, correct, teach, pray for, and generally show love toward our fellow human.

In Ephesians chapter 4 we find this:

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger do not sin… do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen… get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.

Epic failure.

That is a tall order!  “Do not let ANY unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.”

ANY.

I would like to say that I don’t let much unwholesome talk come out of my mouth (though I’m not even sure that’s true).

The Bible says, “any.”

None.

Zip.

Zero.

Zilch.

If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say ANYTHING at all.

Oh, my.

As if that weren’t enough, we are told to, “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Did you ever think about how completely you are forgiven?  The Bible indicates that God forgives our shortcomings so completely that they are not just covered up… they are washed away.  It’s as if they never happened! They are gone. Completely.  Totally.

I don’t forgive like that.

I sort of let-it-go.

But I do NOT forget that it happened.

*sigh*

I have work to do.

Today, I will endeavor to be aware of which way my tongue wags.

The writers of the Bible speak on this subject a great deal.

Consider James 1:26,

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Oh, man!

Or how about Proverbs 21:23

He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.

Just call me Calamity Jane.

There is this Proverb, which Handsome Hippie Hubby has been too kind to point out to me, though he may feel like it sometimes:

Proverb 21:9

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

 And 1 Peter 3:10

For whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.

I really do enjoy good days.

And so I will work on this problem of my mouth moving faster than my brain.  And I will pray for help because, Lord knows, I need it!

Enjoy this day, dear readers.  And be aware of your speech, that others may enjoy it as well.

If you’d like to know more, here is a great reference for Bible verses that talk about talking.

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12 responses »

  1. Thank you for this post – I have shared this on FB because I JUST had a discussion with a good Christian friend of mine who stated her belief that she can say and judge anyone, as long as she does it out of love to bring them to her way of believing and worshipping: I respectfully disagreed with this but you put it much more eloquently than I could. So thank you again.

    • I think it is good to use scripture to teach right from wrong, but it is a VERY delicate road to tread. I truly believe that, when we live by Christ’s example and show His love others will see that and, if there is an area of their lives they need to correct, it will be made obvious to them. This post is a great example… my sister wasn’t talking about this in any way when she emailed originally, but God showed me what I needed to see to fix what was wrong in my own heart.

      • Yes, but I suppose my friends were saying that because they read and “understand” the scripture (which is not somewhere most folks want to go with a trained theologian who’s speciality was actually the early church), they felt they could “judge” and make statements about others lives. I pointed out to them what you said, because that’s my understanding of the message and though I know others have their interpretations, I just don’t think they come from a valid place (Historically or spiritually speaking). Nobody cares about church history though, I am never going to win arguments on that tract!

      • Ah, yes, the “I understand exactly what this means,” school of thought. That always makes me think of the Pharisees who “understood” all the old testament prohpecies so well that they completely missed it when they were fulfilled. 🙂

  2. Eph 4 has been speaking to me all month! Half way threw your post today I was thinking okay, I get the point. Sigh, heap a dose of conviction my way. Baby steps toward perfection in Christ.

  3. I try very hard never to engage ‘religious’ discussions (I am a Deist) but this was very good and I often use many of these same quotes. Like many Deists, I find the Bible a great teaching and learning tool. Like you, my tongue very often runs the wrong way, I am all to often very judgmental and mean even. It is one of my great flaws though I continue to try to fix it, I fall far short. This was a great reminder. I am going to send you off to Facebook, a reminder to many of my Christian and non-Christian friends that we should all rein in our judgement and tongues.

    • Thanks! I think it is one of the great lessons of life… not just in religion, but in all aspects. Wasn’t it Abraham Lincoln that said, “It’s better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and confirm it?” I think he may have been speaking directly to me! LOL

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