How Must Our Words Be?

THE BIBLE tells us: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Pro 18:21)

Jesus declared: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Mat 12:34-37)

James tells us: “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. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 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.” (Jam 3:2-6 NKJ)

What we speak and how we speak it and when we speak it sets the rudder of our life on a particular course. So, how we choose our words and what words we choose are very important.

1. Fitly (Prov 25:11). A fitly word is the right word spoken at the right time. The Bible tells us to pray when we are suffering and to sing psalms when we are cheerful(James 5:13). Also,when someone is on sickbed, don’t go and tell him how somebody else died of the same sickness – it doesn’t help anything. Know what to pray at dinner time and what to pray at a wedding. Also, don’t sing a funeral song during a birthday party.

2. Gladdening (Prov 12:25). The words that we speak must bring comfort and gladness to the heart of people. We are not called to condemn people but to preach the love and forgiveness of God. Jesus didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery and let her be stoned to death; but, he said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (Joh 8:11). In the very next verse He announced, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (Joh 8:12) Our words must bring light and gladness to broken hearts. Our words must heal the wounds, lift up the sorrowful, fill despondent hearts with the hope of God. The Bible says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings.” Our feet must carry the Goodnews of Jesus Christ wherever they go.

3. Refreshing (Prov 25:25). Our words must be like cold waters to a thirsty man. They should refresh and bring strength. They must not drain away even the little strength that remains in others. Our words must send out a sweet fragrance. Dirty communication, filthy words, and coarse jesting should never be mentioned among us – they send out a rotting odor and attract all evil. Our words must freshen the air around us.

4. Life Giving (Joh 6:63; Acts 5:20). Jesus said that the words that He spoke were spirit and life. Our words must bring life to the dead. The words of the Law of Moses killed by condemnation; but the words of the Grace of Jesus gives life (2Cor.3:6). We have not been given the ministry of condemnation but the ministry of life (2Cor.3:7-8).

5. Edifying (Col.4:6; Eph.4:29). Our words must be seasoned with salt, administering grace to the hearers. Our words must be good words that edify and build other people in grace and faith. They must be truthful, wholesome, and full of faith. The Bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom.10:17). When we speak, we must speak as the oracles of God (1Pet.4:11).

James tells us that we must be swift to listen, but slow to speak (James 1:19). May the Lord grant us the grace to choose our words wisely so that our course will be clear and our lives be a blessing to others. May the words our mouth and the meditations of our heart be acceptable in the sight of our Lord! (Psa. 19:14)


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