By Mark Bowman Sr.
Proverbs 12:18 (ESV) says, There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts.
So you’re smelling a bouquet of flowers and a bee stings you. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the bouquet of flowers is, the sting outweighs it all. Even the smallest word can wound and you know it takes longer for a wound to heal than it takes to inflict it. Some wounds never heal and in some cases death comes (spiritual and emotional). Words sting! Words of malice such as brutality, callousness, contradictions, condemnations, cruelty, disagreements, disrespect, insults, offensiveness, outrage, resentments, rudeness, slurs, viciousness, vindictiveness, vulgarity, and much more can maim and even destroy a person. Maim means to wound or injure so that part of the body is permanently damaged. Could that body be the church permanently damaged by the words from our own tongues? Not saying that I’m seeing this happening.
Matthew 12 (NKJV) 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
This is a strong admonition to guard what is spoken. “Idle” words are not necessarily those casual and insignificant sayings indulged in the course of social fellowship. Nor are they such words as may be calculated to bring a smile to care worn faces, but rather, they are the words that betray a bias of the soul against God and expose the evil heart of the sinner. Take the word slander, from the word blasphemia meaning, literally, to speak to harm. To slander people is to blaspheme God, James 3 (NKJV) 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
Speech is one of the greatest endowments of humanity; and the greater the gift, the greater the sin of perverting it to unworthy purpose which is what Satan does with everything God has created. It would be impossible to sum up all the sins of mankind in the area of sinful speech. It must appear even to the casual thought that words, as used by many, constitute the bulk of human shame and wickedness.
Do Christians speak this way? Sadly, yes! Even the meek are not immune.
James 3 (NKJV) 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Beyond everything, man should watch what he says. One’s words can justify when they confess Jesus, or teach the truth, or serve to make peace, or give a blessing or encouragement; but on the other hand, words can condemn, cast a reflection, subvert the truth, utter profanity, vulgarity, hatred, or malice, or any one of many evil things. Then such words bring the condemnation to those who speak them. James 3 (NKJV) 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
When we minister to one another, we need to check our tongues at the door. When we make biblical statements, we should be willing to back up these statements with the Bible. If we can’t, then they are opinions and opinions are based on personal preferences, precepts, and life experiences and should be stated as such.
Once I heard a statement of which the first part was backed by the Bible but the second part was not, and yet they both were stated as fact. These types of statements are dangerous because half-truths are lies and can lead people down the path of destruction. 2 Peter 2 (NKJV) 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.
Psalm 34 (NKJV) 13 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.
Proverbs 25 (NKJV) 11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
We should all learn good habits of saying kindly things to others and about others in public and in private. Sincere words of commendation to lift up instead of tearing down. We need to learn to put self aside. Love must be the inspirer, and there must be a grace of thoughtfulness in our words. Appropriate speech can be a beautiful thing, refreshing and profitable. It is not a matter of elocution or grammar — it is a matter of the heart. We should be reflecting the One who is in us and showing his true character, or shall I say letting his glory shine through us. If our Lord is love and we are his children then that love should be in all aspects of our lives. If our tongues speak what is in our hearts, then we should be speaking Jesus. Every good thing comes from God only.
Colossians 3 (NKJV) 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.