Do you remember growing up hearing the rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!?” The intent of that couplet is to steel us against teasing and badgering but, the reality is, words can internally leave nasty marks. Cruel, mean-spirited, or foul comments may inflict enduring damage and color the way we view the antagonist.
In this past presidential campaign the harsh words of candidates scorched the minds of those listening. Callous, barbed replies and unflattering adjectives flung by leaders (who should know better) to describe their opponents took on the flavor of a reality show gone amuck.
I was sitting on an airplane watching a movie and I was appalled at the foul and perverse language. It used to be that all movies on planes were filtered and therefore fairly clean. Evidently that standard was quietly shelved so that even the skies are now polluted by filth.
Proverbs 21:23—The one who guards his mouth and tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
Ecclesiastes 5:7—For many dreams bring futility, so do many words. Therefore, fear God.
God expects us to guard our mouths. Language has a way of reflecting what is deep inside us. Or as Samuel Johnson phrased it, “Words are the dress of our thoughts.”Words that cut tend to reveal a critical heart. Foul, perverse speech reflects a tainted spirit. Solomon wrote, “Whoever shows contempt for his neighbor lacks sense, but a man with understanding keeps silent”(Pro. 11:12). Later he taught, “Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent, discerning when he seals his lips” (17:28). Jesus’ brother James, warned us, “And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell” (James 3:6).
Staying out of trouble is terrifically enhanced by word restrictions! Just because we think it doesn’t mean we should say it. Just because social norms have changed does not give us excuse to follow suit. Belittling others is not a sign of maturity and there is no glory in spewing garbage. Profanity and swearing pay homage to Satan not to God. The sure sign that we revere Him is the humble way we treat (by our words) those He created. So let’s make the tongue a servant of wisdom and stay out of trouble!
Criticism of others kills spirituality every time.—Oswald Chambers
©2016 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)