Tag Archives: speaking

Be Careful What You Say

By Wiki Roxor (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0
What trouble our mouths can get us in to.  The damage that the words that come out of them can cause…

Words of criticism, of rejection, of questioning – enough to hurt and crush people, to make them turn around and leave, feel worthless, decide it’s not worth doing or saying anything.  One word in the wrong place or at the wrong time can have a cataclysmic effect.  So much pain caused by our thoughtless words.  And it’s not always what is said, but how it is said…

Sadly, the church is guilty of this too often.  For some reason, we feel we have a moral high ground.  Individually and corporately we feel we have the right to say things that are so hurtful, because we feel God had given us the right.  When actually what God has done is asked us to love – not destroy.  Clearly this has long been a problem for the church, as James was addressing it so long ago, but we have not learnt.  Why do we feel the need to cause so much pain, when we should be sharing love?

I have to look at my part in that, and so does each one of us.  Am I too quick to say what is better left unsaid?

But our mouths are only saying what is in our heart, so perhaps the problem starts there.  It’s ok saying, ‘be careful what you say’, but if we weren’t thinking it in the first place, we wouldn’t be tempted to say it.  Why are these thoughts even happening in my heart?

That is something for each of us to contemplate before God.  Why do I need to be right?  Why do I need to say that?  Why do I want to be boss, the law-maker?  Why do I need to keep others in their place?  Who gave me that right?  What makes me feel so bad that I want others to feel bad too?

These are scary questions, but ones we need to face if we are ever even going to begin to tame our tongue – and the broken hearts that cause the problems.

Of course, there is another side to our mouths.  What beautiful, encouraging, helpful, and building-up things we can also say.  We can use our speech to do good – that should be our focus.

So perhaps, before we speak, we can think – is this what God would like to hear me say?  Is it going to build or destroy – both God’s work and people’s lives?  Am I being helpful, encouraging, supportive – or cruel, hurtful and destructive?  Would I like this to be said to me?

Our voice is powerful – we need to be careful whether we harness that power for good, or for harm.

O Thou Who Camest From Above

Forgive me Lord
the time I have said
hurtful,
unhelpful,
unnecessary
things;
when I have cause pain,
rejection,
fear
by the things I have said.

Forgive me for even
thinking those things.

Heal me Lord,
fill me with your love,
hope
and purpose,
that I speak
and feel from that,
not my place of pain.

Heal those I have hurt
by lashing out,
may my words
not drive them from you.

Help me always
to think
and speak
for you

James 3:1-12 (CEV)

The Tongue

My friends, we should not all try to become teachers. In fact, teachers will be judged more strictly than others. All of us do many wrong things. But if you can control your tongue, you are mature and able to control your whole body.

By putting a bit into the mouth of a horse, we can turn the horse in different directions. It takes strong winds to move a large sailing ship, but the captain uses only a small rudder to make it go in any direction. Our tongues are small too, and yet they brag about big things.

It takes only a spark to start a forest fire! The tongue is like a spark. It is an evil power that dirties the rest of the body and sets a person’s entire life on fire with flames that come from hell itself. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures can be tamed and have been tamed. But our tongues get out of control. They are restless and evil, and always spreading deadly poison.

9-10 My dear friends, with our tongues we speak both praises and curses. We praise our Lord and Father, and we curse people who were created to be like God, and this isn’t right. 11 Can clean water and dirty water both flow from the same spring? 12 Can a fig tree produce olives or a grapevine produce figs? Does fresh water come from a well full of salt water?

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A Speaking, Shaking, Awesome God

David Roberts The approach to Mount Sinai

 

Do we need something tangible?  Something we can touch and see?  Is that the kind of God we need?

Do we want to see fire or cloud or storm?  Do we long to hear trumpets?

Would we like to encounter God in the way Moses did?  To be sure?  To be certain?

18 You have not come to a place like Mount Sinai that can be seen and touched. There is no flaming fire or dark cloud or storm 19 or trumpet sound. The people of Israel heard a voice speak. But they begged it to stop, 20 because they could not obey its commands. They were even told to kill any animal that touched the mountain. 21 The sight was so frightening that Moses said he shook with fear.

22 You have now come to Mount Zion and to the heavenly Jerusalem. This is the city of the living God, where thousands and thousands of angels have come to celebrate. 23 Here you will find all of God’s dearest children, whose names are written in heaven. And you will find God himself, who judges everyone. Here also are the spirits of those good people who have been made perfect. 24 And Jesus is here! He is the one who makes God’s new agreement with us, and his sprinkled blood says much better things than the blood of Abel.

25 Make sure that you obey the one who speaks to you. The people did not escape, when they refused to obey the one who spoke to them at Mount Sinai. Do you think you can possibly escape, if you refuse to obey the one who speaks to you from heaven? 26 When God spoke the first time, his voice shook only the earth. This time he has promised to shake the earth once again, and heaven too.

27 The words “once again” mean that these created things will someday be shaken and removed. Then what cannot be shaken will last. 28 We should be grateful that we were given a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And in this kingdom we please God by worshiping him and by showing him great honor and respect. 29 Our God is like a destructive fire!

The peril of being in the presence of God like that is it is dangerous!  When God speaks he is serious – and we are not always ready to hear it.

Now, we come to a place of the Presence of the Living God.

This is a great quote from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe asking about Aslan:

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Getting involved with God is not safe.  It’s not comfy.  God takes hold of our lives.  He makes demands on them.

God speaks.

God shakes the earth, he shakes lives.

This God stuff is serious.

But ultimately it is very good.

Lord,
today,
speak to me,
shake me,
refine me,
I pray.

I stay here,
I wait for you.
To speak your word,
to do your work in me

Think Before You Speak

Have you ever had one of those experiences when you’ve heard yourself say something and thought, ‘Why did I say that’?

Something stupid, hurtful, nasty or just best left unsaid?

Sometimes we do well to think before we speak.  But is there more to it than that?

(image:By Wiki Roxor (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons)

James 1:17-27

17 Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens. He is always the same and never makes dark shadows by changing. 18 He wanted us to be his own special people, and so he sent the true message to give us new birth.

Hearing and Obeying

19 My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry. 20 If you are angry, you cannot do any of the good things that God wants done. 21 You must stop doing anything immoral or evil. Instead be humble and accept the message that is planted in you to save you.

22 Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it. 23 If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror 24 and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. 25 But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget.

26 If you think you are being religious, but can’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and everything you do is useless. 27 Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil.

What fabulous advice for life is,

My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry (v19)

How much better would so many things be if we could all apply that principle.  For, as James points out, if we are using all our energy on being angry, we can’t be doing the good things God wants us to do.

If we want to take seriously living in God’s ways, we can’t just listen to what he says, we have to act on it as well – for listening is only any good if it leads us to action.

Why do we get angry, or say hurtful things? To truly try to bring change? – Or to make us feel better?  Or make someone else look bad?

Would we say what we are saying to someone’s face?  Would it help if we did?  Are our words and actions building God’s ways – or destroying them?

Are we as quick to listen to someone as we are to get cross?  To hear what they are actually saying, what is really happening for them?

So before we speak, we should listen to God, hear what he is saying, and try to convey that – not our opinion.

Lord,

forgive me the times I am quick to speak and slow to listen,

quick to make a snap judgement without listening to you,

quick to anger and slow to think on you.

Lord,

I pray that my words

will be your words.

We may be the only Christian someone knows.  What would they think about our behaviour, attitude and what we say?