If you are a child of the Lord, you will find that the Lord is always molding, fashioning, and refining us ..like a beautiful and unique sculpture. Jesus is the potter, we are the clay.
Over the past couple of weeks, the Holy Spirit has been reminding me to speak words that LIFT UP and not TEAR DOWN. We live in a culture of death, where ugly and unkind words are constantly being spewed on Facebook, instagram, twitter, Youtube, and of course, in the Propaganda media and the entertainment industry. We’re also seeing LIES floating through the airways so thick, it’s hard to see the truth. Kindness and truth have become rarer than pure gold.
People from both sides of the political aisle regularly lob nasty and unkind comments and memes back and forth on Social Media about various political figures, entertainment figures, sports personalities, and even people in general. My husband Motorcyce Man has been involved in a political site in our local community where the comments can get quite personal and mean-spirited. One such comment recently caused him to leave the group.
When attacked, our natural reaction is to fight back – this is our flesh. When we see evil in the world we sometimes want to unload our disdain, especially on Social Media…where it is easier to do so than in person. But….is that how a Christian should act? We can’t speak for non-Christians, but let’s look at what the Bible says about how a Christian should RE-act to unkind and nasty words. Non-Christians (Christ followers) do and say whatever FEELS right to them. But, should we Christians do the same?
I do not ask this question from a birds-eye view of “little Miss perfect”. No, I struggle with this as much as the next person which is why the Lord put it on my heart to research, pray, and post. One thing that I found in the Bible is that our words can even affect our own personal health. Isn’t that interesting? The book of Proverbs has quite a bit to say on this subject...
Proverbs 16:24: Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Proverbs 15:4 – A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life, but a perversive tongue [speaking words that overwhelm and depress] crushes the spirit.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, that it may give grace to the listeners.
Proverbs 18:21: Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Sweet or bitter fruit? Which fruit are we eating and sharing?
God tells us that the power of life and death is in the tongue.
Words create action. They can build up or they tear down. Words have the power to bring life or death physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Words can bring life through encouragement. For example, someone speaking LIFE into a suicidal person, or perhaps a doctor prescribing a life-saving surgery, or a severe weather warning advising precautions to take, or even a parent or friend speaking words of wisdom or advice that cautions someone against making a wrong choice like drugs, alcohol, or smoking…that could eventually cost them their job, their relationships, their sanity, and even their life. In a court of law, a judge listens to words that are spoken. With those words, that judge sometimes has the power to literally grant or take life.
Words affect us emotionally. The Bible tells us that a soothing tongue is a tree of LIFE.🌴 Imagine a school teacher speaking a word of encouragement to a student. Or a counselor helping someone deal with trauma.
However, the opposite is also true. Angry and harsh words that shame, tear down, ridicule, and bully can cause some people to become depressed or suicidal. (Bullycide). They can also be the cause of someone’s severe anxiety and mental disorders. These are ugly words of “death”. These are words that are very common in today’s culture of death. Lies are also words of death because they lead people down a dark path. The devil is the father of lies.
God advises His people to “not engage the enemy”. We must remember that behind every bitter, sarcastic, mocking, ugly and derisive comment, lurks the enemy 🐍- often disguised in sheep’s clothing. Our battle is not against flesh and blood. Those spewing words of hate are simply being used as tools of the devil. God’s people are not to be quarrelsome, argumentative, or in any way attempt to stir up strife. Sometimes this is difficult because we want to respond to false accusations or angry words; however, this is us reacting in our flesh. We are only human and we get angry too. But we have to ask ourselves the question….Why are we engaging in a heated argument? Are we arguing with an unbeliever who lacks the Holy Spirit and therefore lacks spiritual discernment?? Jesus warned His followers to be careful to whom they give the truth to because the enemies of the cross don’t really want to debate, they want insult, malign, and accuse. Solomon would suggest “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself” (Prov 26:4).
Matthew 7:6: “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you”
Why do we feel the need to CONVINCE someone that we’re “right”? We need to examine our own motives for entering into an argument. Normally arguments, especially heated arguments cause all involved to feel frustrated and angry. It raises up the blood pressure. It can cause physical and mental problems such as anxiety, acid reflux, heart-attacks and strokes. Unchecked anger resulting in heated arguments can put a strain on relationships, especially marriages. It is a known fact that the most dangerous calls that a police officer has to field are “DOMESTIC VIOLENCE” calls, or fighting between neighbors, friends, spouses and family members.
And do these arguments move the needle even a little? No…generally speaking, when one has enough conviction about his/her “position” on a matter to enter into an argument (especially a heated argument), no amount of facts or persuasion is going to get that person to change his/her position. We can’t change their minds or their hearts! As Solomon so elequently stated, we should not engage fools according to their folly or we will become like them. Anger is like a fire, and angry words are the fuel. 🤬 Like fire, unchecked anger can grow out of control and cause enormous damage and pain.
Proverbs 17:14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
Proverbs 20:3: It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.
Proverbs 18:6: A fool’s lips bring strife, And his mouth invites beatings.
James 4:1: What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?
2 Timothy 2:23-24: Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,
Does this mean that we cannot dissagree with people? No, not at all. Christians are called to handle disputes in love, with a goal of restoration. 😇 We discussed above that Christians need to avoid conflict with unbelievers, simply walking away (changing the subject) whenever possible, not allowing rude comments to draw us into an argument. We should handle every conflict with gentlness, kindness, mercy and patience. Our words should be GRACE sprinkled with SALT (TRUTH). Conflict among believers should be handled very gently, according to the steps listed in Matthew 18. If we see a brother or sister in Christ sin…the first thing that Matthew says we should do is to show him his sin – IN PRIVATE (Go to your brother alone). There should be no public shaming on facebook, Youtube or anywhere else. There are so many Youtube videos of Christians publicly shaming other Christian Youtube channels. How is this Biblical? If “going to our brother alone” doesn’t work..we are to take one or two other Christians along with us as we meet with them IN PRIVATE. If they still refuse to listen….then the matter can be handled by a larger group of believers (Local Church). Ultimately, if our brother or sister in Christ continues to sin and refuses to repent or listen to sound doctrine and advice, then we are to dust off our feet and walk away and treat them like an unbeliever. Always being kind….but no longer trying to “convince” them or win them over” to sound doctrine. We still recommend praying for them. Prayer can move mountains.
Matthew 18: 15 “Now if your brother sin, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that on the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be confirmed. 17 And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, he is to be to you as a Gentile (unbeliever) and a tax collector.
This style of conflict resolution is based on a desire for holy living and love for the person who has committed wrong, or with whom we disagree. When we read these verses, we see that the motivation for the disagreement is LOVE. As Christians we should make every attempt to treat each person with respect and kindness, attempting gently to win them over to proper and sound doctrine, leading them away from the sin that entangles, but ultimately respecting their wishes. I have listened to many testimonies of former homosexuals who state that it was the KINDNESS of Jesus Christ (and some Christians) that lead them to repentance. (Romans 2:4). Public shaming, unkind words, rude comments will only push unbelievers further away from Jesus Christ. We should never want our words to become a stumbling block to someone whom God is calling.
God is very clear that we should be careful what comes out of our mouths, because our mouths are a mirror into our hearts.💖 God is very, very concerned about what is in our hearts.
Matthew 15:18: But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and those things defile the person.
In this verse, defile means to make unclean, polluted, unholy, or to make common. God’s people are HOLY and are supposed to be different from the world.😇 We are supposed to shine HIS LIGHT into the world. This world is a very dark place – spiritually, and God’s people are the only LIGHTS that shine in this world.
“The heart is the fountain,⛲ words are the streams. A troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring, must send forth muddy and unpleasant streams. Nothing but the salt of grace, cast into the spring, will heal the waters, season the speech, and purify the corrupt communication. An evil man has an evil treasure in his heart, and out of it brings forth evil things. Lusts and corruptions, dwelling and reigning in the heart, are an evil treasure, out of which the sinner brings forth bad words and actions, to dishonour God, and hurt others.“
The Bible tells us that God’s people are set apart by God as “special”, as a “peculiar people”….We’re not to be like the rest of the world (common). If you believe in Jesus Christ, you are a child of the Most High God, adopted into His family, and you are like precious gold, silver…an honorable vessel🏆. Does God love the common use vessels (unbelievers/the world)? Yes, of course. For God so LOVED THE WORLD that He gave His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON that WHOSOEVER BELIEVES on HIS NAME will not perish, but have EVERLASTING LIFE! God loves the common-use vessels (and so should we), but..they could have been SO much more had they only returned God’s love and trusted in JESUS.
It doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, weak, strong, great, small, old, or young. Nationality and skin color also does not matter. If you belong to Jesus Christ (Believe JESUS is the MESSIAH, the Son of God and believe in CHRIST’S Finished work on the Cross) and have made JESUS the LORD of your life..then YOU are an HONORABLE vessel, a beautiful, shiny gold vessel who is so special to YHWH (God the Father)! 🏆
2 Timothy 2:20: But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor
Romans 9:21: Does not the potter have the right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special occasions and another for common use?
As an honorable vessel🏆, one that is special to the Most High God YHWH, our words should reflect God’s glory. If we speak evil words that tear people down, then we defile our special status and we DISHONOR our GOD (FATHER/SON/HOLY SPIRIT). If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you are an AMBASSADOR for YHWH in Christ’s Name!
As believers, we will not face the Great White Throne Judgement which is a judgement of condemnation. HALLELUJAH! This is GOOD NEWS!!! This is because our DEBT has ALREADY been PAID by JESUS CHRIST on the CROSS! The Great White Throne Judgement is the judgment for UNbelievers who will try to stand before a Holy God on their own “Good works”. Even in man’s courts a good work would not not allow a convicted murderer to be acquitted, neither will a “good work” (apart from the justification of Christ) cause anyone to escape the death penalty that is waiting for all people who do not have their debt already paid by Jesus. The wages of sin is death (eternal)…and ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ for paying my debt!!!
Howevever…even as a believer, we will be brought before the judgment seat of Christ (Bema Seat) to give an account of our lives. We need to be prepared to answer the question…What did you do with the life I gave you”? (God asks us this question). Also, be prepared for a “life-review” that will include our words. Words LONG FORGOTTEN that came brashly off of our tongues (or our fingers on Social media)…will come back to bite us. 😲
Matthew 12:36: But I tell you that for every careless word that people speak, they will give an account of it on the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
Jesus says in Matthew 12, that our words will either justify or condemn us. This is a very serious statement. We need to realize that no matter how careful we have been with our words in our lifetime, there is more than enough evidence to condemn us to hell forever. If this is the final word, then we are all hopeless condemned sinners.
HOWEVER….in Mathew 12:37, we see the glimmer of HOPE for JUSTIFICATION (being in right standing with God, through our CONFESSION OF FAITH). Some commentators take a lot of pains to explain why the gospel word “justified” is used here. They say that it is being used in its technical sense to refer to an acquittal in a court of law. That is certainly true, but this is at least a foreshadowing of the justification that comes through the “word of faith” which Paul talks about in Romans 10:5-10.
Romans 10: 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses,resulting in salvation.
Paul tells us that when we CONFESS with OUR MOUTH that Jesus is LORD, and BELIEVE in our HEART that God raised Him from the dead…we are SAVED!! In Romans 10:10, we read, “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” The original Greek carries the idea of “confirming” with the mouth what has taken place in the heart and being thankful for it.
These verses are not saying that a public confession of Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation, but rather that our mouths should confirm what has taken place in our hearts.
Bridling our tongues
The book of James gives us some additional detail on how we Christians are supposed to “bridle” our tongues (be careful with our words).
James 3: 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to rein in the whole body as well. 3 Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their whole body as well.
James 3: 4 Look at the ships too: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are nevertheless directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot determines.
5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
As Christians, we need to examine ourselves.…Do I boast or brag? Am I even aware that I brag? Is my conversation usually: ‘I’, ‘I’, ‘I’? Do I brag about what I have and/or do; about my spouse; about my children/grandchildren; my accomplishments? Why do I brag, or try to one up others?
James (Jesus’ physical half-brother) tells us that our mouths, though small, direct our entire bodies. The tongue has the power to direct our bodies in the right way, or the wrong way. What kind of damage can a runaway horse, or ship, do? A runaway horse could mean an injury, or death to the rider and pedestrians. A runaway ship that wrecks could mean injury to the captain, pilot, and passengers.
So, what can our run away, tongue (words) lead to?
- Tear apart relationships, families, & marriages;
- Divide and rip a nation apart;
- Lead to fights, murder, or even to war.
- Deceive someone into believing that God is not real – leading them into hell and eternal death
James 3:5: See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of unrighteousness; the tongue is set among our body’s parts as that which defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.
Proverbs 16:27: A worthless man digs up evil, While his words are like scorching fire
Romans 3:13: “Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,” “The poison of asps is under their lips”;
The tongue Is a small member of the body. It Exercises great power. It can control the whole body. It can direct people in the right way or the wrong way! It can cause good or evil. It boasts.💪
So that old saying…..“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me“…Don’t believe it! The power of LIFE and DEATH is in the tongue!
Believers are given power to control the tongue (our words). If we are a child of God, believing in Jesus, then we have the power to direct the tongue through a new heart and the Holy Spirit.🕊 Each one of us must make a sincere effort daily to be sensitive to the Spirit who Ezekiel says causes us to walk in obedience, thus we submit, letting Him control our tongues.
Colossians 3:8-9: But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.
Just one more quick word of caution….In addition to our words and social media posts, we also need to be careful what we “like” and “share” (give our approval to). For instance, I see memes ridiculing Joe Biden and others, his feeble mind, etc…and though it is tempting to join in because we believe wholeheartedly that he is working for the enemy, we need to check ourselves on those kinds of things…things that tear down in a mocking or unkind way. Anyway, this is just one more little tidbit to consider as God puts the finishing touches on our vessels of Love.
The Love Test below is a good way to test our own hearts. 🥰💖
A dear sister in Christ recently suggested that we take “The Love Test”..plugging in our names into the blank spaces of the verses below. 💖
“_____ is patient and kind. _____ does not envy or boast. _____ is not arrogant or rude. ______ does not insist on his / her own way. ______ is not irritable or resentful. _______ does not rejoice at wrongdoings, but rejoices with the truth. _________ bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
“I would highly recommend that each of you also do this exercise, but not just mentally. Do this by physically writing out every word with your name inserted in the blanks. I personally found this to be much more impactful when I physically saw my name written there. When I did this, I was absolutely shocked (and horrified) at just how many shortfalls I had (and still have) to work on. In reality, I was in turmoil for a few days after I first did this exercise.”Sparrowcloud 9
If you’re feeling convicted by the Holy Spirit to work on controlling your tongue (your words), do not worry, you are not alone! God placed this on my heart because I fall short also! But with Christ, all things are possible! Time is short. We need to draw close to Jesus and prepare for the Resurrection, Rapture, and His Second coming. Because we LOVE Jesus, we want to glorify Him in everything we do…especially our WORDS!
God Bless!!! SPEAK LIFE! 😇