Do you talk like Jesus? Do gracious words come out of your mouth? How about the opposite? It matters!
4 The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
What does the Bible mean by “perverse?” According to the dictionary:
- (of a person or their actions) showing a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable, often in spite of the consequences.
- contrary to the accepted or expected standard or practice.
- (of a verdict) against the weight of evidence or the direction of the judge on a point of law.
Examples of “perverse” are bitter (spiteful), raging, angry, fighting, slanderous, malicious, dispassionate, unforgiving (Eph. 4:31-32), immoral, impure, bawdy (obscene or inappropriate), fractious (divisive), jealous, envious (Gal. 5:19-20), selfish, vain, arrogant (Phil. 2:3), unloving and disrespectful (Eph. 5:33). I’m sure there are more. Any of these words can be substituted for the word, “perverse,” in verse four.
But, the LORD is not only interested in what comes out of our mouths, for He knows that our thoughts determine what we say. He wants to fix our hearts, which will in turn fix our mouths.
18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. Matthew 15:18
If we want to be more like Christ, then we need to start changing the way we think, which will change the way we feel, and will change the way we talk to others (thank you, Beth Moore).
26 The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked,
but gracious words are pure in his sight.
In order to speak gracious words, we need to think gracious thoughts. BUT HOW? Well, it comes through daily washing our minds with the water of the Word.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Ephesians 5:25-27
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
We’ve heard these verses over and over–so, why won’t they stick? Here is what I have concluded: Until we are ready to ask the LORD how we should think and what we should say ALL THE TIME, we are not really ready to change. HE HAS AN OPINION–AND IT’S THE RIGHT ONE. Most times, we don’t want to ask because we don’t want to know because once we know, then we are accountable to Him. What we don’t realize is that we are ALREADY accountable to Him for every thought and every word. He wants to help us learn to be like Him! He loves us and wants the best for us. Only HE knows what that BEST is. He gave us His Spirit so that we can communicate with Him 24/7. Let’s take advantage of our advantage.
Let’s trust Him today–just today. Let’s try Him and see if He will open the windows of heaven and pour out His blessings (His peace, presence and participation in our lives) on us (loosely based on Malachi 3:10).
Abba, I know that opening my mind to You can be scary. I don’t really want to acknowledge what goes on in there. But, I realize that You know EXACTLY what I am thinking, and even why: You know the history of my life and its influences; You know my tendencies and my struggles; You also know my heart, which so desperately wants to be like You. Please give me the desires of my heart, O LORD (Psalm 37:4) even as I take delight in You. May I listen, trust and obey Your Voice all day today–and then tomorrow, and the next day, etc. Amen.