We talked about positive words in an earlier post and then in the last post we talked about negative words and today we will continue in talking about negative words. We will talk specifically about some the ways that we unleash the power negative words in our lives.
One is found in - Ephesians 5:4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. We have all been around those who every time they open their mouth have some sort of inappropriate comment that comes out which they intend to be funny. We all know people who have what I like to call – a potty mouth. Paul here in Ephesians 5:4 is addressing these people. He is saying indecent talk, filthy stories, obscene talk, vulgarity, evil minded talking, and things like this should not be part of the Christian life but it should be words of thanks that are coming across out lips. It is replace your potty mouth with a thankful mouth. Paul is making a moral appeal to the people of Ephesus and notice the theme of the moral appeal. It isn’t "avoid these things so that you can be a saint." Rather, it is "you are a saint; now live in a manner fitting for a saint."
We are people who Christ has come into our lives and now it is time to talk like it. Christ does not want us talking in our old ways but wants us to move ahead. Many of us talked like this before Christ changed us so now we need to be talking like people Christ changed. Many of us find comfort in the past ways we lived but Paul reminds us in Philippians 3 that we are to forget the past and press forward toward the high calling in Christ Jesus. Let us exchange our potty mouth with thankful mouths
Then we have the Gossip – Proverbs 20:19 He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip. The power of the negative words can also be seen in gossip. What is gossip? Normally it is a rumor that is of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature. Gossip is juicy news.
As soon as I said gossip, some of you had a picture of a person who gossips all the time pop into your head, wonder if anyone pictured you? Gossip has been an issue in the church for as long as it has been around but that does not make it right at all. We do a number of things to try to cover our tracks when it comes to gossip: we use the “prayer request” cover, we use the “I am only sharing this with you because I care” cover, or we use the “I am not gossiping because I am pretty sure it is true” cover. The Bible has some hard words for those who like to gossip. We should not associate ourselves with gossip or gossipers.
Gossip hurts. We all at one time or another have felt the sting of it getting back to us that someone had gossiped about us. The Bible tells us that gossipers ruin friendships. How does it feel when someone gossips about you? Not a one of us like it so do not do it to other people. Gossip would stop if we all lived by the Golden Rule – If we treated others the way we would want to be treated.
Then we have Slander -Leviticus 19:16 `You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD. Slander is saying things that are meant to harm someone’s reputation. Slander is one of those things that we do not think to be a problem but I believe that it is a close relative of gossip. As a matter of fact in the last verse Proverbs 20:19 both slander and gossip are mentioned. When we share what we do about people in gossip and slander we are making a sticky mess. When we say things that we do not know to be true or things that need not be said we are making a big sticky mess all over us and others. How can we get away from making this sticky mess with our words? We need some way to figure out if we should say something or if we should not say anything. Here is a test you can use that has been around that can help you make the decision.
Three things: Is it true, is it kind, and is it necessary?
Is it true should be something that we are always making sure of. Too many people share things that they do not know to be true which is gossip and as we all know, gossip makes a mess and damages lives.
Is it kind is something that we covered already and that one of the most important things we can do is share the truth in a loving way. We need to make sure we are saying the kindest possible things to and about people. Kindness does not make a mess of anything but is a wonderful sweet treat.
Is it necessary is something we have to ask ourselves because something we want to say might be funny or informative or juicy news but then again might not be necessary. We all have things at times we want to share but in reality these things are destructive and not worth saying. We underestimate the power of words so we need to ask how necessary it is to share information and stories with other people. When we go to say anything to people we should ask ourselves these three questions: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
Always remember this – Big people talk about ideas – Regular people talk about things – Little people talk about other people. Let us be big and regular people and not little people.
What are you thoughts on these areas? When I was young I struggle greatly with the “potty” mouth – which of these area are/were a struggle for you? How did you or are you working on that weak area?