One of the first things I remember learning: “If you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all!”
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” —Proverbs 18:21
“We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” —James 3:2
Romans says: “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” —Romans 3:13-14
A wise camp counselor told Tim in Junior High, this is what is important to remember about bad words:
“The problem isn’t so much that you said that word, problem is it came from your heart. The way to avoid cussing isn’t just to put a filter on your mouth, but make sure your heart stays pure.”
“…the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” —James 3:5-6
Eph 4:29-5:2 says: “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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
5:1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”
“In my daily prayers, I ask the Lord to help me only speak what is encouraging, uplifting, edifying, and life-giving, to others. I ask that every word that comes out of my open mouth would be a reflection of Jesus’ heart and words to the people I’m speaking to… I believe the blessing God wants to give me is a voice that makes a difference.” – Pastor Tim
Generous words include our prayers!
In Matt 5:44 we’re called to pray for our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, in 1 Tim 2 we’re called to pray for our leaders (sometimes praying for our leaders and for our enemies is the same thing).
1 Peter 3:9-16: “9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
Practice this week: Look for ways to encourage others. Speak it out. Go over the line. Not just what is required, but be generous in our praise for others, generous in our encouragement, and generous in our leading others to God!