“But no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:8-10)
"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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 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 in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:28-32)
As we said, each of these tools deals with a heart perspective. Now, this week, let’s look at several more that have to do with how you speak truth to people, and other Christians in particular.
Develop people with your words, don’t destroy them
Our talking needs to be about building people up, not tearing them down. One of the characteristics of people who are following Christ is that they are people full of life and hope, not despair and destruction. It is often better to hold your tongue and say nothing than to say something that will bring destruction.
"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving." (Ephesians 5:3-4)
"An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble. From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him."(Proverbs 12:13-14)
Defuse the edge from your speech
Ever heard an accent or form of speech that sounded to you like fingernails on a chalkboard? In a similar way, people react when they sense bitterness, rage, anger, or contentiousness in our speech. This is a key arena if you have something “tough” to say to people. Pray long and hard that God will help you to speak without the edge in your voice.
Obviously I’ve had some tough challenges lately with some of the nice things people are saying about our church construction project. But, thanks be to God, to my knowledge I have not yet blown it in my conversation with some of these people.
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice" (Ephesians 4:31)
Story of lady with keys locked in her car
The key here is to keep check on your internal barometer. If you are moving towards overheating, then you need to re-engage at the point of God’s forgiveness and love for you and therefore you to others. Then, your talking with people can be full of grace and not venom.
Deepen your love languages
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:3)
Truth is, particularly in the body of Christ, we need to learn how to “put up with” one another in love. One key to that is discovering the various love languages that people have. Learn what they can “hear and receive” and try to communicate in that way.
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
Depend upon your nature, not your nurture
At heart, we must realize that our real hope is in the new nature we have in Christ, and not our upbringing.
“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness” (Romans 8: 9-10)
Believers in Christ are dependent upon His Spirit, not their strength!
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