Oh Be Careful Little Tongue

When was the last time you read through the Psalms? I know of one individual who includes the reading of five Psalms and one Proverb in his daily Bible reading schedule. Following this schedule will enable you to read through the book of Psalm and Proverbs each month. Imagine what your life would be like if the words of the Psalmist and the words of Solomon filled your mind each day. Recently as I was reading through the Psalms I came across a verse that grabbed my attention. “Let the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” The words of Psalm 19:14 are challenging. Picture what your life would be like if you lived out these words. Can we even grasp how much better our world would be if everyone practiced these words? God’s Word is transforming. Psalm 19:14 challenges us to transform our speech and our thinking. This post will focus on our speech.

Are the words that flow out of your mouth pleasing to God? James illustrates the potential destructive power of the tongue in James 3. Your words have the power to build up people to amazing heights. Your words also have the power to bring people down to depressing lows. This is most evident in a marriage relationship. Husbands and wives can speak words that build up each other in a way that nobody else can. The opposite is also true. Jesus tells us in Matthew 12 that “by your words we will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Does this make you take stock of the words you speak?

How can we transform our speech? How can we learn to speak words that are acceptable in God’s sight? God’s Word has the answer for us. Here are five Biblical principles to consider before your speak.

1. Use Caution—James 1:19-20
Take a minute to read James 1:19-20. These words can transform your relationships. Read these words slowly and carefully. Do you realize what God has given you? God gives you the formula to building strong relationships. Step 1—Be quick to hear. Step 2—Be slow to speak. Step 3—Be slow to anger. Compare your current communication patterns with these words from God. Most of us do just the opposite. We are too often slow to hear, quick to speak, and quick to anger…and then we wonder why our relationships are falling apart. You want to strengthen your marriage? Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. You want to improve your relationships with your children? Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger! God’s plan will work…if followed.

2. Listen Carefully—James 1:19-20
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 46:10. “Be still and know that I am God.” I love these words. I fall short in living them. Take time to listen to God. God has a plan for your life. Take time to listen to Him. God has a plan for your salvation. Take time to listen to Him. God has a plan for your future. Take time to listen to Him. The words of Psalm 46:10 can also help us in our other relationships. If you are too busy to listen to God…you are too busy. If you are too busy to listen to your spouse…you are too busy. If you are too busy to listen to your children…you are too busy.

3. Be Positive—Colossians 4:6
Researchers have studied the impact of negative comments on a person as compared to positive comments. All research consistently reveals it takes many positive comments to balance out the effect of one negative comment. Stanford researchers concluded it takes eleven positive comments to counter the effect of one negative comment. Silence will destroy relationships. Negativity will also destroy relationships. Be positive in your speech.

4. Speak the Truth—Ephesians 4:15
You can’t have relationship without trust. Lies destroy relationships. The strongest relationship you can ever have is with God. God is not capable of lying. You can fully trust God. He won’t mislead you. He won’t deceive you. He won’t lie to you. Honesty is an essential ingredient in relationships. When you are teaching others follow the words of Paul in Ephesians 4:15. “Speak the truth in love.” When you are communicating with your family follow the words of Paul in Ephesians 4:15. “Speak the truth in love.”

5. Express Kindness—Ephesians 4:29
Read Ephesians 4:29…Imagine what your home would be like if your family lived out these words. Are the communication patterns in your home mostly positive or negative? Are your communication patterns mostly positive or negative? People in your life need to be encouraged. People in your life need to be uplifted. People in your life need to hear words of kindness.

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About phillipljohnson

Minister for the Westside church of Christ in Norman, OK.
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