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A TEST…(Guest Article)

May 13, 2016

A TEST (Guest Article)

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart/ Be acceptable in Your sight,/ O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Our words—oh, the power of them—for good and for bad.  We must ask God to help us:  with what we say, with how we say it, and with why we say it.

What we say should always be carefully weighed for its impact on our hearers.  Is it useful?  Will it help?  Will it hurt?  Will God approve?  Is it positive?  If it’s negative, is it being said for good?   Our words can build up or tear down, sooth or hurt, encourage or embarrass, heal or wound, endear or repulse.  Like the psalmist, ask God to help you with your messages.

How we say what we say is no less important.  Paul warned us to “speak the truth in love.” (Eph. 4:15) “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” (Gal. 5:15)  “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Col. 3:6) The right seasoning makes a dish taste better and a message more palatable.  He even cautioned Timothy that in his ministry his message must be with longsuffering. (II Tim. 3:2)   When you speak, ask God to help with the heart part.

And, then, why are you saying it?  Not everything has to be told.  Just because it’s so doesn’t establish a reason for telling it.  A tidbit of gossip may be so, but passing it on may hurt someone.  So is the reason for telling for good; or is it for the little bit of thrill of the redistribution?  Is that word of correction spoken to help someone amend his ways; or is it a put down to make you feel better?

Jesus says that words are so important that “by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Mt. 12:37)  We all need divine help to pass this test.

Larry A. Shelley


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