How To Use (and Not Use!) Your Gift of Speech
Written by Jenn Arman | June 24, 2011
Continuing our What is a Christian? series, we’re going to spend some time talking about living out our Christianity. Today’s topic is speech. We already know that words have power. If you aren’t sure about that, just think of a time when your feelings were hurt. Was it because of something that someone said? God knows how powerful and devious our tongues can be so He is very clear about how we are to use our gift of speech. The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21.
Let’s start with lying.
Exodus 20:7 – You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
Exodus 20:16 – you shall not give false testimony (LIE) against your neighbor.
Twice, in just Ten Commandments, God talks about our speech! God never says that it’s okay to lie a little. God never says that white lies are okay. A lie is a lie no matter what color it is.
Alright, moving on to gossip.
The Oxford Reference Dictionary defines gossip as idle (without a point) talk; groundless (without facts to back it up) rumor.
Now here is my definition of gossip: Anything you say about another person that you would not say directly to his or her face. This also includes repeating what others have said and using words to cause or add to drama.
Personally, I like my definition better. It covers more ground and is easy to understand. In any case, enough about what the dictionary or I think! What does God think?
Proverbs 16:13 – Righteous lips are the delight of kings, and he who speaks right is loved.
Proverbs 16:21 – The wise in heart will be called understanding, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
Proverbs 16:23-24 – The heart of the wise instructs his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 16:27-28 – A scoundrel plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire. A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.
Our speech is supposed to be sweet, healing, encouraging and truthful. Do you lie? Sometimes I do by mistake. Do you gossip? Sometimes I do by mistake. Well then, let’s work on that together!
Here’s the bottom line:
James 3:7-11 – For every species of beasts and birds, or reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?