You have a conflict with your wife or husband. Someone has been offended at church. There has been a difficult time getting along with a person at work. All of these situations could, at one time or another, be due to things people say.
The Bible has a great deal of practical wisdom when it comes to our speech. James 3:1-12 makes the case for the tongue being uncontrollable. It says we can use it to praise God and curse men. We all know how many problems have been caused by the misuse of the tongue. Relationships have been destroyed. Company CEO's have been asked to resign. Politicians sometimes spend more time calling each other names than getting things done. Celebrities tarnish their image.
Proverbs 16:23 tells us that "the heart of the wise teaches his mouth." One must learn how to speak in such a way that his or her mouth is put to good use. It goes beyond that, however, because Matthew 12:36 warns us " that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment." Wow! That is a hard verse to digest! When you break the word "careless" into syllables, you of course, get "care" and "less." Think about that. Does a careless word mean that you and I couldn't care less how our speech hurts someone else?
Here is a listing of many verses that tell us how to discipline our speech to bring positive results:
* Be quick to hear but slow to speak. James 1:19
* Do not restrain your lips from giving thanks to God. Psalm 40:9, 51:15
* Speak what is edifying, that it may minister grace for the need of the moment.
* Proper speech will help a person be beyond reproach. Philippians 2:14-15
* With one's speech true confession can be made for making Jesus Lord and
Savior. Romans 10:9-10
* We must guard our speech. Psalm 39:1, Proverbs 21:23
* We can declare hope in the Second Coming of Jesus. I Thessalonians 4:18
* We can be persuasive. Proverbs 16:21 and 23
* Do not slander or repeat things or you will "separate intimate friends." Proverbs
16:28 and 17:19
* Do not have a backbiting tongue. Proverbs 25:23
* How to answer a fool. Proverbs 26:4-5
* Do not speak flattering words. Proverbs 26:28
* Do not speak deceitful and devious words. Proverbs 4:24
* The fewer the words the better. Proverbs 10:19; 11:12, and Ecclesiastes 3:7
* A gentle answer turns away wrath. Proverbs 15:1
* Use the tongue to defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. Proverbs 31:9
* Do not let your speech cause you to sin. Ecclesiastes 5:6
When one uses his or her tongue appropriately it wil be a "fountain of life" as it says
in Proverbs 10:11.
* There are two other verses of warning in addition to Proverbs 12:36. James 3:1 says that those who are teachers will incur a stricter judgment. Proverbs 30:6 adds to this. "Do not add to His words lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar."
If you have problems in this area like I do, these are some guidelines to help in changing the way we speak. May be all seek to put our speech to the best possible use.
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