You Said What? (About Speech)

Post date: Sep 29, 2011 4:09:53 PM

Reposted from 2009-05-12

Consider for a moment what Paul says in Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 15:33

Be not deceived evil communications corrupt good manners

Of all the connections made today, I witnessed an interaction between some people. One person made a comment that was certainly offensive, while the other person used cynicism for their response. The interaction was intriguing to watch, however, without love, a fruitless exchange. Neither party edified the other. In the end, both walk away with nothing learned from the moment.

Our words carry so much power. Think about it. It all starts in Genesis. Let US make man in OUR IMAGE. Sure, the Bible goes into details about the following that ensued, but consider first what took place. God spoke, and something changed. Something was created. But, God didn't just speak man into existence, God spoke us to be made in HIS IMAGE. Tselem is the Hebrew word used for "image", which means resemblance. We resemble God. God spoke, so can we speak. But, like God, our words carry power. The power to direct lives is in the tongue. James 3:4-5 equates the tongue to the rudder of a ship. The rudder is a small portion of the ship, yet it steers a large boat. So can the tongue steer the life of a person.

I was talking to a friend of mine. My friend told me that a person they knew was a looser. I'm not going to disagree that the person has made poor decisions in life, but I wouldn't go as far as to call this person as a looser. I encouraged my friend to consider their words carefully. Everything that comes out of your mouth starts in your heart (Matt 15:18). When's the last time you've said something that honestly wasn't you? Everything you say speaks to how you feel on subjects and how you perceive life. With my friend, I recommended that they not speak ill of the other person. This way, that manner of speech seems foreign to them. The more rehearsed you are in your speech, the more likely you are to say something you'll regret.

I remember a time when I was wrestling with Nate. He put me in some hold that I was unable to break. I dropped the F-Bomb loud enough to echo. It was still in me to use that language. It was fresh, there, and available. Like a well, I could easily drink from it at any time. I don't like the taste of that water anymore. It's tainted. I recently had a Bobcat blade push my foot into the soil. As painful as that was, there was no profanity. There were no cursings. Somewhere along the line, that profane water had dried up. That well is no longer there. Now, I drink from the well of life, which is much sweeter. I didn't have to apologize to anyone for saying things of an offensive nature because it was no longer there.

When you continue to rehearse negative speech patterns in your life, you keep filling up that well of profanity. Eventually, you begin cursing like the proverbial sailor.

Job was an interesting guy. He had everything under the sun go wrong in his life, but he never cursed God. In Job 27:4, he states that he won't speak wickedness nor deceit (lies). To curse God is to lie, and Job never cursed God in all his troubles. I would propose that Job has a history of speaking life whenever it came to God. Because it was Job's nature to only speak well of God, he had no place of his own to draw from to curse God. Sure, he complained about what was going on, but Job just didn't have it in him to curse God.

Abraham spoke things as though they were (Rom 4:17). Abraham had that place to speak things into existence because he partnered with God. What if we partnered all our speech with God? What is God saying over us now? I would speculate that God has many good things to say over His children. I mean, what parent has children and does nothing but bad mouth them? Most parents I know will go as far as to brag on their children. I could tell you how smart my son is or my daughters. I could tell you the things they accomplish, but you'll not hear me state anything that degrades the value of my children. If man knows to do well, how much better would God?

Love (agape) edifies (1 Cor 8:1). It's really about relationship. To truly express agape for one another, your communications should benefit the other person. There's a value placed on good communication (Prov 10:20). Our words bring life or death (Prov 12:18, Prov 15:4, Prov 18:21). More so, what we speak also greatly affects our own lives (Prov 25:23). The people I know who are always speaking negatively seem to always be having issues in their lives. I just can't help but notice this. They whine and complain about what's wrong. During this time, I see so much more emphasis in their speech about things being wrong that they create an atmosphere of death and destruction around them. It's quite sad. The best I can do is speak life to those areas. Think about John the Baptist. In Luke 1, it talks about how John's father was made mute for a season. Many say that it was so his father couldn't speak against God's plan. I would tend to agree. When all was said and done, John's father was permitted to speak once he had fulfilled his duty to give the name John.

I'm sure you can find many other versus in the Bible about speech, speaking, words, and what we say. I cannot claim to be perfect in my speech. I'm still learning. It's a process. But I know God holds me to my speech. As such, it is my duty to be careful in all I say. My communications need to be for edification, not decimation. I thank God for the power of speech and I thank God that I can praise Him with my tongue. I also thank God that my words can speak life into those who hear my voice. My prayer is that the body matures in this area to the degree where all we speak are prayers and edification. Every word proceeding from our mouths serves to benefit the listener.

I'm going to keep working on this area of my life.