Tag Archives: Speech

Out of the Heart …

A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. -Proverbs 18:20-21 KJV

A quick read-through of verse 20 had me thinking of a salesman, making sales with his smooth talking and eating from the work of his mouth (by buying food).

Then I thought about it longer than a couple of seconds.

Well Said

A person is satisfied by speaking well of and to others. When a person uses their words to lift up, praise, and edify another – especially by sharing the gospel – there is a satisfaction that fills every part of the body. (Also, church potlucks!) And this comes out of the love of God within us.

But when we do not have God’s love compelling us, all sorts of evil easily flows out, and that usually (and ultimately) leads to receiving the same.

And [Jesus] said, “That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
Mark 7:20‭-‬23, KJV

We need to have our hearts and minds changed by the power of Christ’s blood washing us clean. Then our words shall become sweet and evidence the change.

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Shut Your Mouth!

A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. – Proverbs 18:6

Let’s be real, OK? Sometimes people get into trouble because they can’t shut their mouths.

Years ago, while driving a school bus in Kentucky, I had to stop and have the police come on board to search for drugs. As we had been going down the road there were some kids in the back who had lit up a marijuana joint and the smell was obvious.

However, when the police came onto the bus and began to search the bags of the suspected teens, a young girl who was sitting nowhere near the smokers started cursing at the police. Her complaint was that the suspected teens were black, that they were just being profiled, and that she wasn’t going to stand for it.

Needless to say, before long the one who ended up getting taken off the bus in handcuffs was the loud-mouthed, belligerent, unruly white girl. The other kids – the ones who said “Yes, sir,” and “No, sir” – just got a warning… no drugs were found.

What happened on that bus that day is nothing unusual; it happens all the time. Foolish people can’t help but run their mouths whenever they feel wronged or disrespected. Then, when strokes come, they act surprised.

 


Are my conversations pleasant and beautiful?

Hot Air

Hot Air

God’s goal for me is that my conversations are pleasant. Arguing and fights aren’t what God has in mind.

  • Love is the key.
  • Respect is imperative.
  • My conversations can be beautiful.
  • Imagine that is what people say after I leave them. “What a beautiful conversation that was.”

If people aren’t courteous to me, I don’t have to get angry, I can just walk away. I can withdraw from confrontation.

Jesus challenges me with the following: “When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they’ll be mighty sorry—but it’s no concern of yours now.”

Congenial conversation — what a pleasure! The right word at the right time — beautiful! ~King Solomon | Source: Proverbs 15:23


Your Answers Matter

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. -Proverbs 15:1, ESV

We see evidence of what this verse is saying all over the world in the middle of 2018.

Several nations are at odds with each other over words being said.

People groups within nations are at odds with each other, fighting over the meanings of words or how they are said.

A major issue?

Most people are using harsh words and refusing to listen. Everyone is a racist or a bigot or a Nazi or stupid or ignorant …

No one is apparently an image-bearer of God. But they are.

And most people just want to be understood and given assurances they will be okay. We may disagree, but we can gently discuss things.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Romans 12:18, ESV


Know the Witness

A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies. -Proverbs 14:5, KJV

Yep.

Okay, this verse may be rather obvious, but there really is more to say.

For example, this is a reminder that you can trust people to be who they are. So, do you keep company with those who will tell you the truth, even when it hurts, or with “Yes Men” and chronic liars, those who are always only in it for themselves.

Another line of thinking: how do you respond to each of these people?

Do you lash out at the faithful witness or accept their words?

Do you treat the liar with contempt and hatred or with enough respect for the image of God in them to help protect both of you from the effects of their lies?

If you know their character, it is easier to respond. Always fall back on truth and God’s word, holding yourself and others to that standard.

There is no easy answer for how this is done, and it can depend on each instance with each person, but trusting in our Faithful Father to guide us by His Holy Spirit will be our protection and salvation.


Be Kind

My wife and I have taught in schools. She has almost only ever taught Kindergarten (about 4 months of not in eight years), and I taught 7th Grade Mathematics and further back in Special Education.

I tell you what, working with a lot of kids can teach a lot about life! Especially how cruel and mean people can be.

A recent movement in the past few years is called “Be Kind”. The name is pretty self explanatory, and they do some good work helping teach students to simply be nice to each other.

Proverbs chapter 12 can be summarized this same way: Be Kind.

Think about it: it starts with advice for controlling yourself (discipline, vv. 1-4), transitions through recognizing it starts with our thoughts (vv. 5-8), moves to our actions toward others (including animals! vv. 9-12), and the majority focuses on what we say (vv. 13-26).

Words probably get the most time because of how much we tear each other down with our words. Sometimes it is unintentional.

But we must remember that kindness starts internally, with our thoughts and beliefs. So, to be kind means we start by changing our thinking, and ultimately it happens by trusting in God.

He first showed His kindness by coming to us lowly sinners to reveal truth and die for our forgiveness. The ultimate kindness is leading others to life in Christ.

The path of the righteous is life, and in its pathway there is no death.
Proverbs 12:28


Marriage Advice … for All

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.
Proverbs 11:12, ESV

Today happens to be my ninth wedding anniversary.

Any good husband will tell you there is a time when you should just keep your mouth shut and listen to your wife.

Honestly, it is advice that can go both ways. Neither partner should be so prideful as to assume you know everything better than the other. Mutual communication benefits both!

Conversely, it is unwise to speak down to the other. Belittling – literally causing someone’s ideas and character to seem small and meaningless – only creates pain and bitterness. It is no longer a partnership but a tyranny, and even more confusing when both are guilty of this. Whoever belittles attempts to control the other, and this means slavery and problems.

It is best to work together and be willing to hear each other out.

And, yes, I may be talking about married couples, but this advice applies to any relationship, even with strangers.


Safely across to dry ground

buckley

The Mighty Wonder Buck enjoying his outing.

Buckley and I enjoy terrain hiking in a tiny semi-secluded patch of the planet belonging to the college where my husband works.  It’s private land, so I’m thinking the town’s leash laws are not in effect. It’s also one of the few places I can let him range, and he loves it!

So do I.  Not only for myself, but I get such a kick out of watching him enjoy the freedom, and I marvel at the sure-footedness of this rescue pound-puppy of ours.  Not that I can say that about myself, mind you.  No, this one carries a walking stick, wears special insoles in trail running shoes (in which I walk, not run), and even then I have to pick carefully through leaves and creek beds, using that opposable thumb to grab and hoist myself up the hills.

Buckley, the barefoot creature without the opposable thumb?  Right.  He leaves me in the dust. 

I have to be especially attentive when crossing a brook.  Picking my way safely can be challenging (it’s part of the fun), and watching for slippery moss on the rocks is imperative.  If I’m not careful, I’m all wet. 

Hold that thought for a sec.

Proverbs chapter ten is largely concerned with my words, which is a pretty good indicator of what’s in my heart.  Here is a running commentary contrasting the attitude (as shown by their words) of the wise person versus the fool.  Just a sampling—

The wise are glad to be instructed,
    but babbling fools fall flat on their faces…

People with integrity walk safely,…

This isn’t just an observation, (Solomon was quite good at that), but more importantly, a warning.  It’s easy to be drawn into a foolish argument; that is, an argument that is void of the primary foundation of wisdom—

“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
    Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.”

Without this, the encounter can become slippery at best, treacherous at worst, causing confusion, rancor, and division (to name a few.)

Here’s another comparison—

The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain;

…but the babbling of a fool invites disaster.

Are my words giving life?  Or are my words making safe passage unattainable?

Or is it a discussion I should even enter into at this place?

When one of these conversations presents itself, the godly participant does well to stand on the shore and survey how to get across safely to the other side. 

Otherwise, you’re all wet.

Proverbs 10:8,9,11,14; 9:10 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Good Speech

Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. –Proverbs 4:24

Do not be confused: it does say “froward” and not “forward” in this verse. Other translations say instead “deceitful” or “crooked”. Most translations still keep the word “perverse” in there somewhere.

Do not be deceived: Nor deceive. This proverb is reminding us that it is not okay to lie (the 9th Commandment, Exodus 20:16), and telling us that it is not good to “have a foul mouth” or denigrate others or … tell dirty jokes.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
Ephesians 4:26; 5:4, NIV

(See also Colossians 3)

Look at the world today, especially in the United States of America. How many people are stepping down or being fired from positions of power because of comments or jokes they have made?

It is not okay to talk this way, to lie, to objectify others, to speak flippantly about matters or people, to use “bad words.”

Does this mean we can never tell jokes?  Of course not. (I would be in so much trouble if this were true!)

However, we should “Be wise in the way you act toward [others]; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt,” (Colossians 4:5-6) so that we may remain “blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’” (Philippians 2:15)

As I have told many friends, especially those who work with children, it is better to be in the habit of not using certain words than to let them slip out when we least want them to.


Mind Your Tongue

Proverbs 27:3 

A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.
A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier. (NLT)

My wife helps runs a mother and tot group. I help put out the toys, although not every week. One item that appears periodically is the sandpit. I hate the sandpit. All the helpers hate the sandpit. Not just because it is heavy, but also because it is awkward to maneuver. Every now and again my wife asks me to visit the local DIY store to buy new sand for the sandpit. The bags of sand are also heavy and awkward, especially when lifting them into the boot/trunk of a car. I have had cause to buy bags of stone pebbles from the same store for my garden. The bags of stone are equally difficult to carry. If the bags of sand and stone were smaller then life would be easier, but that would mean moving more bags. Whichever way you look at it sand and stones can be a nuisance.

A fool shouting off his mouth about something he is ill informed to comment about is also a nuisance. Solomon refers to the anger caused to anyone on the receiving end of a fool’s nonsense. Like a bag of sand being lifted and carried the weight of it wears the carrier down. Lift or carry the bag awkwardly and it will cause pain, potentially for several weeks. In a similar way foolish words spoken without thought can cause pain for several weeks, perhaps even months and years. There is a daily responsibility shared by all of humanity to think carefully before words are spoken, and not be the fool that causes anger, resentment or pain.

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one  (Matthew 5:37 NIV)