The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words. ~ Proverbs 15:28 (NLT)
Have you ever been in a situation where you could hear the words you just spoke and desperately tried to find a way to capture them before they hit the ears of their intended target? If you’re answer is no, then I have to question whether you are being fully honest. How often do we tell stories about the great comebacks we had to someone when we felt attacked? Or, maybe we share stories about chewing someone out because they “deserved it.” Saying things that are hurtful, ignorant, naïve, hurtful, spiteful, hurtful, or just plain mean are, unfortunately a regular behavior for sinners like you and me. (Yes, I know I wrote hurtful multiple times. Marketing research shows that repeating something at least three times helps make it stick.) We are experts at saying, and thinking, hurtful things about one another.
Of course, King Solomon had to drop this verse on us. Doesn’t he understand the beauty of a good comeback, or that sometimes we get so angry that we have to let fly with all kinds of harsh words? He must not know that in the moment, sometimes it seems impossible to hold back what we’re feeling inside. Yet, that’s exactly what God inspired him to write.
As Christians, we are never, never, never (Yes I repeated it three times. I hope it sticks.) called to tear another person down with our words or actions. Nowhere in the Bible are we given permission to speak evil of another person. However, throughout the course of any given day, we do it. A lot.
This next question is going to hurt, on purpose: When we regularly speak evil about others, what type of witness does that make us for Jesus Christ? Ponder that one for a second. Let the weight of the question sink in. Now, let me add some more fuel to it. Since we’re in the 21st Century, I feel confident in adding this to the mix: Evil words don’t have to be spoken out loud, they can be easily shard on social media for all to enjoy. Don’t believe me? Just scroll your social media feeds. It’s all there.
Church, let us be wise, kind, gentle, and good in all that we say and write. May it be an accurate reflection of our Lord, our Savior, Jesus Christ.