In today’s world, social media is king. People can sit behind their glass screens and post about anything they want to. A lot of this posting is filled with vitriol and hatred. The words that are used are oftentimes cruel and demeaning and devoid of empathy or love.
But this is not how we are to be. Our communication with each other and with the world is to be with love and kindness. The more the world turns inward towards hatred and evil, the more we will have to combat this attitude. We are living in this world, and we are susceptible to the attitude of the current world ruler.
In our dealings with each other, there is a constant need for respect and love – especially in the things that we choose to say to each other. If we really examine the words that are coming out of our mouths – they will show how close we are to God OR how influenced we are by Satan.
God is very serious about this matter. He cares about what we say to others. Because how we choose to speak shows what is in our hearts. And there really is no room for two ways in our hearts.
Matthew 12:33-37 states: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For 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.”
We will have to give an account. That truly is something to keep in mind and to make us aware that we need to be very mindful of what we say to people.
Our communication is powerful. We are in charge of what we allow to come out of our mouths. We can destroy people – or we can lift them up – all is in our power. This quote speaks volumes: “Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can be only forgiven, not forgotten.” If we just say, “Oh sorry, I can’t control my thoughts and my words,” then we are choosing to allow ourselves, through our words, to become part of this world. If we are not in control, who is?
The Bible confirms this assessment!
James tells us (James 3:5) that the tongue is a small part of our body – but if we are not careful, it can set on fire a forest, meaning that if we are not diligent in watching what we say, we can cause extreme damage—maybe with our spouse, maybe with our children, maybe with members of the church, and maybe even with those outside.
If we are constantly angry in our vocabulary or show disrespect to others, then there is something wrong within ourselves. When we do this, we are not behaving as a Christian. If we actually care about and have love for others, then we will be extra diligent with our words.
We find in Colossians 3:8 that we as Christians have an obligation to be mindful about communicating in a way that is right: “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.” We must be aware that individually, we can alter situations and help keep the peace. Colossians 4:6 says: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”
While we are in the world, we do NOT have to act like the world. Rather, we can be the difference, the “Light on the hill”. We each can choose how we are going to speak. We each can choose how we will apply these Scriptures. Ephesians 4:29 states: “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouths, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
If we wait for others to treat us differently in communication, we are missing the point. We each can and must choose to lift others up in how we communicate. If we change how we communicate with others, it will have a positive net outcome. If we choose to speak harshly and without consideration, this too will have a net outcome – but in a very negative way.
Really, if each of us were to take scriptures such as Philippians 2:3 to heart and work on applying them in our lives, how much more powerful and good would our words to each other be?: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better [higher] than himself.”
It truly is amazing how much our words can affect others. As we live this Christian Way of Life, our duty is to continue to change, to continue to grow. What better way than to examine our words and see if they really are Christian-like, kind and loving, or if they are reflecting this ugly, broken and dying world. Notice the following proverbs:
Proverbs 16:24: “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”
Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Proverbs 12:18: “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health.”
Proverbs 15:1: “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Proverbs 15:4: “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”
I would challenge each of us to take a look back on the words we have spoken during the week, and then work towards improving our choice of words the next week to be more in accordance with what God shows us. If we do this consistently, we will see the fruit that is brought forth in ourselves and with others!