We need to be careful that we don’t allow ourselves to be used to subtly draw others away from the Lord.
For example, have I spread gossip and caused my sister to stumble? Have my facial expressions and body language communicated messages that were inappropriate, causing a brother to stumble? Have I used critical words to discourage my children or my spouse? Have I been negative and caustic with those who are closest to me?
Let’s take inventory of how we used our words just yesterday. Consider each conversation you had. How would you characterize those conversations? Were you building others up, encouraging a closer walk with the Lord? If I’m totally honest, there are a couple of conversations from yesterday that I wish I could take back. There were words that I spoke that were unhelpful. There I go prettying up my sin again! The truth is that there were words that I spoke that were plain old ugly.
James has much to say about how we use our words. He says in chapter 3,
“And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue.
It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
Whew! Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve got work to do. I owe two precious sisters an apology. Then I need to ask the Lord to help me guard my tongue and keep from using it in ways that dishonor Him and make my sisters stumble.
How about you? How would you grade your conversation from yesterday? Were your words healing, or did they cause someone to stumble? Let’s honor God with every word we speak. We have children, spouses, friends, and fellow believers that each need to be encouraged to follow Christ more faithfully. We can pour into their lives with our words. Let’s grow in grace as we measure our words and guard our tongues.