James and Matthew both recognized the importance of our words and the need to control our tongues. Using the Lord's name in vain and profanity displeases the Lord as noted in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:7). Swearing is a lazy way of trying to be emphatic. Vulgar language is not appropriate in any situation. Expressing yourself in that matter proves absolutely nothing-except that you are a fool who has little grasp of the human language. Speaking inappropriately also involves half-truths (which are actually 100% lies), gossiping, bragging and talking without thinking first.
Speaking the truth "in love" can be challenging. You may have a tendency to hide your feelings, to pretend that nothing is wrong, while you silently brood over perceived or actual offenses. Then when you've hit the last straw, you explode like a grenade. The other extreme is to tell the truth but not do so in love. There may be nuggets of accuracy in the attacks you dish out, but if the truth is hurled like a weapon, it deeply wounds. Neither of these extremes breeds closeness.
If you tend to speak without love, to gossip, use profanity, exaggerate, to lie or to move your lips without first choosing your words carefully, consider the following suggestions:
· Think before you speak-just because you think of something, you don't have to say it! (Psalm 141:3; James 1:19, 26)
· Take wrong and inaccurate thoughts "captive" before God. Instead of blurting them out to others, confessing them to God helps get them out of your system and gives time to remind you of the truth. (Colossians 3:8-17; Proverbs 21:23)
· Replace these thoughts with new ones which more accurately represent the situation. (Proverbs 12:17-19; Philippians 4:8)
· Choose to speak edifying, pleasant words that are soaked in love. (Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6)
tells us that even a fool may be thought of as wise when his mouth
is kept shut (Proverbs 17:28). Silence can keep us from embarrassing
ourselves. People may believe we are smarter than we really are!!
The above noted character quality is an excerpt from Rod Handley's latest book, "Character Counts For Quiet Time and Small Groups" (Volume 1).In addition to sixteen different character qualities, you get a number of Scripture references and appropriate small group discussion questions. This book is perfect for any age, giving helps on how to live out the Christian life. It's retail price is $6.95. Additional character qualities will be put into future volumes.