Our mouths are pretty good gauges for what we are thinking. BEWARE! God holds us accountable for what we say!
Proverbs 16:2 All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.
We are good at justifying what we do. It doesn’t even have to be logical! We can justify getting even with someone by telling ourselves the feeling of satisfaction is worth whatever the consequences.
The problem is that without the Holy Spirit, there is no way for us to combat our own self-centeredness. In fact, we can pretty much count on whatever we want to say or do to be flesh-motivated. We must learn to stop and listen for His prompting. We must also read His Word so that we can discern what He calls good and would ask us to do.
Look at it this way: If we won’t read His Word regularly, then we are telling God that we don’t need His opinion and that learning how to please Him and what He likes is not important to us. Are we really that arrogant? I’m afraid so!!!
There is one area that we feel particularly justified, and that area is in what we say about others. There is a verse in a song from my teen-hood that sets the bar for me:
“We will work with each other, we will work side by side…and we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride, and they’ll know we are Christians by our love…”
Even when describing an incident, let’s take care to “guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride.” It’s an important habit, if anything, for the sake of others (our audience tends to take up the attitude of the one to which they are listening) as well as the reputation of the ones about which we are talking. A good rule of thumb is to ask ourselves, “If the person were standing right here beside me, would I say it?” Scripturally, we base our question on this passage:
Ephesians 4:29-32 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
The questions we ask are:
- Is it considered unwholesome?
- Is it helpful for building up others?
- Will it benefit those who are listening?
- Will it grieve the Holy Spirit?
- Does it have any bitterness or malice in it?
- Is it kind and compassionate?
- Is it forgiving (full of grace)?
Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.