Sunday, August 8, 2010

Speak No Evil...

In last week’s blog, we addressed the fact that we often hurt other people by saying things that we should not have said. I have done that in the past.  In fact, I unfortunately did it today!

Each time that I find my foot heading in the direction of my mouth, I am reminded that I am still far from achieving the state of perfection. 

However, I am constantly being encouraged by the fact that God’s Spirit leads me to apologize and restore that relationship (whether I like it or not).

Even more importantly, I am glad that He is constantly encouraging me to think before I speak. Not that I always do so... but I appreciate that it happens with more regularity.  It is what seems to be an on-going life-long process.

Since this process is an on-going one, let us keep on going with this topic in this week’s blog. 

Those of us who are in Christ have the Spirit of God on the inside to advise us of when we have one or both feet in our mouths... and His love and His kindness provoke us to repent of our sins (our missing the mark of perfection) and to seek and receive forgiveness.

Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God's will)?
Romans 2:4 [AMP]

It is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.  Also, if the Holy Spirit resides inside of you, He will lead and guide you in those true (as opposed to those froward) ways.

But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth).
John 16:13a [AMP]

In general, however, I don’t think that most people realize the power of their words.

For example, marriages have been destroyed as a result of words; whether those words were:

  • Spoken by one or both parties in the marriage, or
  • Spoken by outsiders to one or both members of the relationship. 
Of course, if love and trust are the cornerstone of a relationship... it will take more than a few poorly-chosen words to tear it apart.

Realistically though, how many marriages are truly based upon those archaic conventions?

Let’s face it: a lot of people today get married for a variety of reasons besides (true) love and trust.  These may include (but are not limited to):

  • Financial advantages
  • Guilt-free sex
  • To get a green card
  • Because she got pregnant

But back to the topic of saying destructive words...

Those who have Christ living on the inside will be quick to repent, quick to apologize, and quick to repair any tears in the relationship.

Some people have found themselves in bad relationships because words were spoken early in their lives that destroyed their self-esteem.

Such individuals may feel that they deserve to be abused or mistreated... because as a child they were told that they were not worth anything better.

Those who are the abusers in such relationships often are acting out behavior they learned in their childhood.

This may have been by observation of their parents’ dysfunctional relationship... or, it may have been via their personal experience of abuse.

While their abuse may have been more than just harsh words... they may have experienced physical or other types of abuse.  Still, in some instances, negative words are often the harbinger of physical violence.

Many people have found themselves making bad choices in life because of things said to them during their childhood. Perhaps a teacher told them they would never amount to anything. I know in my life that has happened. However my choice was to do everything in my power to prove that teacher wrong! Unfortunately, not every child will have that level of tenacity to win and succeed in life.

Such words are even more damaging when spoken by a parent. I hear people say to their children quite often that they may never amount to anything or that they are useless or worthless.

The word of God is perhaps the best being for a young child to hear. For example, rather than to think themselves worthless, a child can learn they are truly valued based upon what thus saith the Lord:

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
Jeremiah 29:11 [AMP]

The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 [AMP]

Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; [O Zion] your walls are continually before Me.
Isaiah 49:16 [AMP]

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
John 3:16 [AMP]

For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 [AMP]

Those are just a few scriptures that expand upon the great love that God has for each and every one of us. You may be inspired to search the scriptures for more or perhaps even all of them. If that is of interest you, you might want to start here, and then perhaps continue here... and then go on from there.

Perhaps the greatest motivation for watching our mouths is love. We are not talking about romantic or fraternal love but, rather, the love known in the Greek language as Agape which is God’s love -- and is one of the four types of love defined in the Greek language.

If I love others with Agape love, then I will not want to hurt them through negative words spoken. This of course requires the power of God, for it is impossible to live a Christ-like lifestyle without His Spirit operating within us. And even so, it is so easy to fail -- because we are human.

The difference however between living in the light and living in the darkness is easily discernible.  If we are in the light, we are walking in love.  If we are in darkness, there is no love... there is only room for hate. Even a five-year-old knows it is better to walk in the light.  Don’t believe me?  Just turn out the lights in the room where the child is and watch what happens!

Whoever loves his brother [believer] abides (lives) in the Light, and in It or in him there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin.
1 John 2:10 [AMP]

That is one tall order, folks... one that is a daily challenge for me. My good friend Charlie Peacock also knows this struggle, as evidenced in his song, “In The Light.” Check this out:
I keep trying to find a life
On my own, apart from you
I am the king of excuses
I`ve got one for every selfish thing I do

What`s going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
That I`m still a man in need of a Savior

I wanna be in the light as you are in the light
I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh Lord be my light and my salvation
All I want is to be in the light of love
All I want is to be in the light

The disease of the self runs through my blood
Like a cancer fatal to the soul
Every attempt on my behalf has failed
To bring the sickness under control

Is there such a thing as a man of peace?
If there is, then a man of peace I want to be
I will need your help if I`m ever to be that
If I’m to lay down, lay down, lay down
Then I’ll lay my life for my brothers and sisters
I will need your help, Jesus I need your light
Forever shining bright

As we yield to the Holy Spirit, remembering that He has the right of way, we will find a change in our hearts. And as our hearts change, our words will change.

For some people, the change is immediate and drastic. For others, it is gradual over an extended period time. Many of us fall into that second category...

The bottom line is that as we continue to submit to God and allow Him to change our hearts, our words will change.  Why?  Because our words are determined by the status of our hearts.  As our hearts are filled with God -- and God is love (1 John 4:8) -- then our words will be chosen out of the storehouse of love.

The upright (honorable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright (honorable and intrinsically good), and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved (wicked and intrinsically evil); for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:45 [AMP]

And, should our words come out wrong and cause damage, we can rely upon the Spirit of the Living God to correct and re-direct.

Change your heart... your mouth will follow...

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