Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as god in Christ forgave you.
Ever thought you grieved the Holy Spirit? Ever wondered how that was done? It sounds like, this passage means that our speech has the ability to grieve the Holy Spirit of our God!
Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. ESV
Life and death in the power of the tongue, wow!
The book of James has something to say about the tongue:
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.
He said our religion is useless if our tongue is out of control. What do you think about that? If we are breaking down our brother or sister in Christ with our words, we are no longer acting as a Christ-follower. We’ve given in and lost the battle. Love isn’t winning!
Look at that next verse as it gives the real definition of religion. Maybe if we were busy with these types of things we would have no time for useless mouth running:
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
If there is anything that I have struggled with in my life, it is my mouth. We read that the tongue has the power of life and death, we read that a fool allows their tongue to come first and say whatever is on one’s mind. We read that the mouth is really the end of the stream for the heart where the junk can easily flow out. It’s like a bursting damn and nearly impossible to control. How can we gain control over it? Honestly, I wonder if it’s as simple as filling our heart up with God’s word, so it’s on our mind instead. Maybe it’s a combination of doing good works, memorizing scripture, and practicing self-control. If we were really following the Greatest Commandment, to love God and love others, wouldn’t we bless (speak well of) our fellow believers, and those God has created with His own purpose?
A great passage to remember – that can help us in this area – when we are tempted to think we are better than another of God’s children is Galatians 5-6. Go through and note all the phrases that deal with what you say or self control, loving your neighbor, satisfying the flesh, etc.
5:1 do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage NKJV
-don’t go back to your old sins
5:4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace. NLT
What about when we do not show grace to others when they are sinning? They have the same struggle, we are all made from the same dust. We hold others to the standard of being perfect, yet they are not, they too cannot keep all the law, so we slam them, nit-pick them – that’s a big waste of our time! Instead of spending hours complaining about someone, why not spend hours on our knees praying for them?
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! NKJV
Don’t we all know the Golden Rule? How many of us know this follow-up verse in Galatians about biting and devouring each other?
How much of our time as the church are we spending biting and bickering with one another? Are we in a Christian aquarium where the fish we swim with need to experience some fresh water? Let’s be careful not to devour our brothers and sisters. Let’s instead keep focused on all the fish of the sea! Being busy with loving our neighbors, loving widows and orphans, praying for those in the struggle of life. Loving the lost gives us little time to hurt each other!
Oh God, we so desperately need your help in this area. Everyone struggles with the tongue, pastors, church members, nurses, doctors, moms, dads, teachers, construction workers, we all struggle. We all need Your help. Give us compassion for those you created, help us spend our time praying to You instead, or worshiping You. Let us be a blessing to those who need You rather than the one tearing them apart. We love You Lord, prepare our hearts! Amen.