Scripture would encourage us to reclaim wise, considered and honoring speech. Solomon wisely wrote, "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few (Ecclesiastes 5:1-3)." Or as David wrote, "May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:13-14)."
Words matter. Words either lift the reputation of Jesus or bring it down. Words encourage or discourage. Words heal or wound. Words either take into consideration God's point of view on issues or merely ours. Words are powerful and can cause pain for a lifetime or healing from a lifetime of pain. Words reflect the life giving of Jesus or the life taking of the evil one. Careless words hurt while considered words bring life. Words matter. Every sentence we speak is an expression of our inner spiritual condition.
Here are some biblical principles regarding our words, speech and conversation.
- Coarse and vulgar language does not honor God.
- The wise listen, evaluate and consider before talking. It is considered rather than careless speech.
- When needing to speak truth we do so in love, humility and with words that bring people toward us rather than push them away.
- Gossip, slander and second hand information are rigorously avoided.
- Our conversation should build others up and encourage them in their life and faith.
- Our words are either life giving or life taking: the first reflects Jesus and the second reflects the evil one (John 10:10).
- Our opinions (words) should be reflective of what we understand God would have to say about any given situation.
- Our words either bring people nearer to God or push them further away. Our words either lift ourselves up or lift God up.
- We will account for all the words we speak in our lifetimes so we ought to speak with eternity in mind.
Never underestimate the power of our words for good or evil. How many of us remember words spoken to us that have hurt for a lifetime - and words of healing that have been deeply healing. Because so much of our life involves, words, speaking, conversation and dialogue, much of our life is defined by the words we speak. Much of our impact on others is defined by the words we speak in their presence. Most of all they reflect the contents of our hearts and minds.
Leaders set the standard of discourse in their organization as parents do in the home. In all conversations each of us sets the tone by how we choose to communicate. Our words have great influence over others.
May we be Jesus with our words and speech!