Archive for the ‘speech’ Category

Gossip or slander is likely one of the most ignored sins in the church and how to stop it.


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Killing gossip

   “For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body. Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel are fervent lips with an evil heart.” (Proverbs 26:20–23, ESV)

Dan Phillips gives some advice on how to kill gossip and its nasty kin:

Gossip kills churches. If you’re reading this blog at all, odds are I don’t want your church to be killed! So here’s what you do.

First, understand what gossip is. Gossip is spreading harmful information in an ungodly manner — without love, and thus to no positive end. Its bastard stepchildren are the triplets: Strife, Dissension, Division. Once again, my focus is the life of the local church.

Second, do any or all of the following steps, as needed. Some of them help identify whether you’re actually hearing gossip or not. All of them will stop it dead. But none will work… unless used.

Read Dan’s five suggestions here.


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Paul points out 12 qualities of gospel-driven and Christ-honoring communication.  How are you doing in your home, church, or work?

  1. New-life communication is true (v. 25). See also Proverbs 4:2412:17192214:525.
  2. New-life communication is self-controlled and solution-oriented (vv. 26-27). See also Proverbs 14:29;19:1126:2024-26; and James 1:19-20.
  3. New-life communication is healthy and health-giving (v. 29). See also Proverbs 15:426 and James 3:1-10.
  4. New-life communication is edifying to others (v. 29). See also Proverbs 10:21 and 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
  5. New-life communication is time-sensitive (v. 29). See also Proverbs 15:23 and Colossians 4:6.
  6. New-life communication is grace-dispensing (v. 29). See also Proverbs 12:18 and Colossians 4:6.
  7. New-life communication is not fueled by anger or bitterness (v. 31). See also Psalm 64:2-3Proverbs 29:2230:33.
  8. New-life communication is not loud and obnoxious [clamorous] (v. 31). See also Proverbs 15:125:15.
  9. New-life communication is not abusive (v. 31). See also Proverbs 18:2112:616:27; and 1 Corinthians 5:11(“reviler” = verbal abuser).
  10. New-life communication is kind (v. 32). See also Proverbs 3:319:22.
  11. New-life communication is wise and compassionate (v. 32). See also Proverbs 10:3116:21Colossians 3:12.
  12. New-life communication extends forgiveness (v. 32). See also Colossians 3:13 and Matthew 18:21-35.

From 12 Qualities of New Life Communication.

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Words matter

Our Lord tells us, that “every idle word that men speak, they will give account of in the day of judgment.” And He adds, “By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

There are few of our Lord’s sayings which are so heart-searching as this. There is nothing, perhaps, to which most men pay less attention than their words. They go through their daily work, speaking and talking without thought or reflection, and seem to imagine that if they do what is right, it matters but little what they say.

But is it so? Are our words so utterly trifling and unimportant? We dare not say so, with such a passage of Scripture as this before our eyes. Our words are the evidence of the state of our hearts, as surely as the taste of the water is an evidence of the state of the spring. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” The lips only utter what the mind conceives. Our words will form one subject of inquiry at the day of judgment. We shall have to give account of our sayings, as well as our doings. Truly these are very solemn considerations. If there were no other text in the Bible, this passage ought to convince us, that we are all “guilty before God,” and need a righteousness better than our own, even the righteousness of Christ. (Phil. 3:9.)

~J.C. Ryle~

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels – Matthew (Edinburgh, Scotland; Banner of Truth; 1992) Commenting on Matthew 12:22-37. p. 132-133


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An excerpt from Scotty Smith’s “A Prayer about the Stewardship of  Our Words”

 You’ve sealed me for the day of redemption. I don’t want to sadden or grieve you by a foolish and hurtful misuse of words. I’m called to build up, not tear down. You study my needs and speak only helpful words to my heart. Educate me in the needs of my family and friends that I might likewise only speak words of encouragement and hope—even when that requires saying the hard things. There’s always a redemptive way to communicate even the most difficult things. Don’t let me think otherwise.

Lord Jesus, I praise you for taking the Father’s word of final judgment on the cross, that I might hear him speak the words of complete welcome and acceptance in my heart. May my words reveal humility, beauty and truth, and may they bring healing all this day long. So very Amen I pray, in your holy and loving name.
Read it all here.

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I know it doesn’t sound practical. If you had a moment of meditation to engage your spiritual core muscles before every utterance that emanated from your mouth, you would spend a lot of your week in halting pauses, like that kid Fred Savage played in The Wonder Years who was always standing there speechless while his future self narrated his thoughts. People might think you were slow. But it is a command in Scripture, it can be obeyed with an infusion of God’s grace.

Col 4:6Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. 

Just picture how intentional your conversations would be if you had the undervalued superpower of being able to simply think before you speak. And think of how many insensitive remarks, off-color innuendos, and blatant half-truths you could avoid with a little mental bracing.

–Clint Archer:  more here 

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When we get together over a meal, why do we fill it with idle chatter about the local sports team and American Idol and then transition to “spiritual” time in a drum circle? What if we reclaimed the dinner table for meaningful conversations about what Jesus has done and how the Holy Spirit is leading us today? We don’t have to be in a circle to talk about conviction, repentance, and the excellencies of Christ. When we relegate these conversations to specific times of “care and share” or Bible study, we are effectively compartmentalizing our lives. We are propagating the belief that these conversations and convictions should not spill over into unsanctioned times. We condition people to make a mental separation between spiritual and practical matters. When should our talk not be salted with the gospel? I am not saying that every conversation has to be an exegesis on propitiation. There are times for small talk and banter about our favorite sports teams. But if we talk about Jesus only during Bible study, if we pray only in that circle, if we cannot articulate the gospel’s influence on our view of politics, business, sports, and entertainment, then we are not living transformed lives. We are still compartmentalizing the gospel.

– Brad House, Community, p.98


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Some wise words about our words.  Remember these today:

Most people do not take their words serious enough. Everyone who hears anything we say will be influenced and affected by our words, whether for good or bad. Often young people or foolish adults will saying cutting, hurtful things in jest, only to justify it by saying, “I was only teasing–man, can’t anybody take a joke?”

Whether or not a person is joking is another issue; the thing about words is that, regardless what our motives are in speaking, the words themselves have a direct influence upon those who hear us.

How important are words? When words are spoken, they immediately do their work. It doesn’t matter if it was intentional or not, if it was a joke or not, if it was well-thought out or rashly spoken without thought–none of that matters; what matters is that when words leave a person’s mouth, the effect happensand the influence occurs; blessing and edification are accomplished by the words themselves if the words are right, truthful and good; likewise, damage, hurt, and sin immediately occurs if the words are harmful.

Words and their effects cannot be drawn back in like a fishing line. Once out of the mouth, they are permanent and cannot be reversed.

How important are words? Only a few reminders from Proverbs cause us to remember:

Preserving or destroying one’s very life – “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” – Prov. 13:3

Toil or talk – “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” – 14:23

Anger or peace – “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – 15:1

Thoughts can be sin, and words can be acts of righteousness – “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure.” – 15:26

Words have influence with those who are in authority – “Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right.” – 16:13

Words are a real means of comfort and healing – “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” – 16:24

For talkative people who always have to express their views – “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” – 18:2

Words are what get most people in trouble – “A fool’s lips walk into a fight and his mouth invites a beating.” – 18:6 (Advice to young people–if you don’t want to get in trouble or get your teeth knocked down your throat by a mad jerk, keep your mouth shut–be quick to listen and very slow to speak.)

Words totally ruin some people’s lives – “A fool’s mouth is his ruin and his lips are a snare to his soul.” – 18:7

Gossip is enjoyable to the gossiper and the listener – “The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels.” – 18:8

Premature words bring shame – “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” – 18:13

Words always reap a harvest – “From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.” – 18:20

Words reflects outright evil and wickedness – “A worthless witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.” – 19:28

The main life preserver – “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” – 21:23

Repeating something to others is wrong – “Argue your case with your neighbor himself and do not reveal another’s secrets.” – 25:9

Good, timely words – “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” – 25:11

Lying about others is destructive – “A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, a sword, or a sharp arrow.” – 25:18

Quarreling – “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.” – 25:24

Quarreling – “For lack of wood the fire goes out and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.” – 26:20

There’s a time to answer a fool and there’s a time to not answer a fool – “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” – 26:4-5

Words are often meant to directly deceive – “Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart.” – 26:24-25

How many more warnings could we find, just in Proverbs? Many more.

In an age of information overload, tweeting, face-booking, emailing, texting, and all the rest, the amount of words that are used have been multiplied by the millions; and everyone one of us are storing up more and more accountability to God on judgment day, when we will give account of our words.

~ Mack Tomlinson

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Take 90 seconds and think how you are going to use your words the rest of today? It’s not as easy as you think. It is a war!

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How has your talk been so far today?  We know that the Bible has a lot to say about the tongue. Two books deal more with our speech than any others in the Bible:  James and Proverbs.  Solomon shares rich gems of wisdom about the tongue.  Read, assess, and be changed today by God’s grace:

“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” (Proverbs 10:19)

“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” (Proverbs 18:13)

“The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.” (Proverbs 15:14)

“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” (Proverbs 15:28)

“The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.” (Proverbs 10:32)

“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3)

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