Saturday, September 23, 2017
Safeguards to Secure Sound Speech
UV2781/10000 Safeguards of Speech
Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
Proverbs 21 v 23
We eat the fruit of our words. Words are powerful. They can kill, heal, deliver, comfort, entertain, instruct, harm, destroy, re-build, strengthen, debilitate, equip, empower, enable. They can cause a person to rejoice or to drive another into deepest depression. Most of life’s troubles emanate from our spoken words: conflicts, arguments, sorrow, pain, humiliation and so on. If our words are pleasant, truthful, beneficial to the listeners, we eat the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control. If our words are thoughtless, careless, negative, harmful, critical of others, proud, arrogant, conceited, we eat the fruit of anger and strife, of hatred, of bitterness, of violence, of evil, of cynicism, of disorder. A safeguard is to yield control of the unruly, restless tongue and its total use to the Holy Spirit. We should commit to ourselves and the Lord that not a word would be spoken without sending it to the Holy Spirit for approval. A gentleman is one whose tongue and mouth is controlled by the gentle and wise Holy Spirit. The untrained natural tongue is a repository of evil. It needs to be trained by the Holy Spirit so that it is consistently a sweet spring of water and not a poisonous spring or well. The tongue has to be consecrated to the Lord. The same tongue cannot be used to praise God and criticise His creatures. The same tongue cannot be used to bless and to curse our fellow beings. Over a period of time, we will evolve a pattern of speech that is sound, healthy, helpful, positive, wholesome.
Another safeguard is to pass our words through the sieve of the Word of God. Does our speech pass muster when it is measured against the instructions written in the Word on the use of our mouths and tongues? We need to weigh our every word before we utter it. Our tongues express what our hearts and minds are full of. Hence, we need to place a guard at the door or entrance to our hearts and minds. The psalmist prayed that a sentry or guard be placed at the door of his lips. We need to constantly saturate our hearts and minds with portions of scripture that deal with ordering our speech or conversation so that it is in alignment or conformity with the Lord. The Word plays the role of the bit in the horse’s mouth. It helps us control our mouths and tongues. Our minds should be captive to Christ such that every dark or negative thought is arrested and driven out before it triggers a wrong word. We should instead fill our minds with what is true, beautiful, noble, praiseworthy and whatever will be useful for the glory of the Lord, whatever is of benefit to the listener.
Teachers of the Word need to be even more careful how we handle our tongues and mouths. We will be judged more severely for any words that are amiss. If we do not have a useful or apt word for a particular occasion or situation, we should prefer to hold our tongue. Watching our tongues and mouths implies that we should be aware of the impact of our words on people. We should refrain from being talkative for where there is a multitude of words, sin abounds. The saying, “Speech is silver while silence is golden” implies that for the wise in the Lord, silence is the preferred mode of communication. It is not awkward to hold our tongues or remain silent as during the silent moments, we can use it as an opportunity for our spirits to communicate with the Lord. He will then give us the word of knowledge or wisdom to share. Continually meditating on the Word will help us restrain the urge to speak. Pausing to think before we speak, slowing down the speed of speech, developing our listening skills to understand the feelings behind words, analysing the speech patterns of others are some other effective safeguards to ensure consistently good speech.
Prateep V Philip