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Christian Life

How To Use (and Not Use!) Your Gift of Speech

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?

Image: iStockphoto


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  1. Posted by on July 12, 2011 at 18:44

    Nicole do you think you could pray for me. I love to talk and talk and talk. And gossip does come out:/ And white lies I know in my heart there wrong and I do feel guilty afterwards. But I tend to tell them when a guy or something says, “You like me?” and i don’t want to be embarrased and I say no. and sometimes make a gross face so he doesn’t know the truth. I feel bad afterwards so I know thats not right either so just please pray for my words. Thank you:)

    • Posted by Nicole on July 12, 2011 at 19:35

      I will! but it’s up to you whether or not you want to tell him you like him! If you say no, it’s not a lie, it’s just that you want to keep it private!

  2. Posted by on July 10, 2011 at 13:06

    How do you chnage the subject when your friends keep talking about other people? Is it best just to walk away?

    • Posted by Nicole on July 10, 2011 at 13:42

      say “would you like these people to hear you? How would they feel if the knew what you were saying? would you like that being said about you?” Also, tell them they can’t take back their words- ever. So remind them to be mature and think about what they say.

  3. Posted by on June 30, 2011 at 19:47

    Amataverna – 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” means that according to the 10 commandments, anyone who uses God’s name in vain is guilty of this sin in the eyes of God. It means we can’t use God’s name in vain and then claim to be free of sin.

    Gossip means that you don’t spread rumors about others, you don’t say things that aren’t true about other people, it basically means that if you don’t have something nice, helpful or encouraging to say about someone, then it might be better to say nothing at all.

    I hope that answers your questions, if not please let us know so that we can help answer your questions better, we love to hear from you girls so ask all the questions you want!! 🙂

  4. Posted by on June 25, 2011 at 08:29

    @Amataverna: i think before we talk about others, we should ask ourselves “what is the purpose of this statement? would i want someone to say that about me? is it hurtful, condemning, etc?” and most importantly “does it glorify God?” i know the last one might be hard, especially as teenagers, to incorporate into everything we say, but that should be our aim. but once you answer those few questions, that should answer whether or not it is gossip

  5. Posted by on June 25, 2011 at 04:53

    No, it means that we shouldn’t say anything about a person that you wouldn’t say to his face. So you can use other people’s successes as examples, and talk about them in a good edifying way, just don’t spread nasty rumors. 🙂 God bless!

  6. Posted by on June 24, 2011 at 22:42

    I really need to work on that myself but getting better at it

  7. Posted by on June 24, 2011 at 18:56

    @Amataverna No, the Bible is saying to NOT talk poorly about someone behind their back. Don’t spread mean or upsetting rumors about anyone whether it’s true or not. EX. “Did you know that Mary’s sister just got put in jail for…..” Never talk negatively about anyone and you’ll be fine. Plus, no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, that most people are NOT proud of. The people who are proud of their mistakes and brag about their sins are lost and you should pray for them.:) You CAN talk about people behind their back if it’s friendly or helpful. EX. “Yes, Mary is such a great student. She always is making good grades and is very photogenic for the yearbook pictures. I would definately recommend for you to choose her for Prom Queen.” I hope that helps! 🙂 Jesus loves you! 🙂

  8. Posted by on June 24, 2011 at 18:17

    great article !!!!!! i love this website!!!!!

  9. Posted by on June 24, 2011 at 18:13

    Amen. I’ve had one of my friends talk in a tone that made me sound stupid, and even though it wasn’t WHAT she said, it was still hurtful.

  10. Posted by on June 24, 2011 at 17:49

    that helps a lot!! i am thinking of going into something speech related in collage and now i know how the bible tells us to use our speech!!

  11. Posted by on June 24, 2011 at 17:43

    I’m still a bit confused on what gossip means. Does tsp mean we arent allowed to talk about people at all?

  12. Posted by on June 24, 2011 at 17:41

    What does it mean by God will not make guiltless using His name in vain?

    • Posted by on August 7, 2011 at 02:56

      It’s kinda confusing, but it’s the “unpardonable sin.” While God will forgive all sin and save a person, when someone uses the HOLY SPIRIT’s name in a disrespectful way or a careless manner, he is subject to definite punnishment and ultimately an early death, if he/she does not repent. Also, someone who is saved is like 99% not going to say something like that, so if someone does say it, he/she is most likely not a Christian AND just further hardened his/her heart, making his/her chances of accepting Jesus even more difficult.