Inspired by a Tweet someone wrote this morning, I’ve decided that this week’s #standorfall is speech.
At my last church (which I frequently miss!) we had a youth service called Re:deem. We had fab banners made that had 1 Timothy 4:12 on them, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” Set an example in speech.
The book of Proverbs reminds us how important speech is. It warns against false words, gossip, insults and quarrels and encourages us to be reliable, kind, wise and careful in our speech.
James likens the tongue to the tiny flame that starts a forest fire, or the small rudder that steers a huge ship. The tongue has power.
So this week, I’m going to try to be more careful in my speech. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I swear like a trooper or anything like that, but I am all too often careless about what I say. This links in with patience, of course, because if I am more patient in my dealings with people, I’m more likely to be careful in what I say.
But not saying the mean stuff isn’t all we’re told to do. Proverbs doesn’t just tell us to avoid upsetting people in what we say, it tells us to say things that are kind and truthful. When Paul told Timothy to set an example in his speech, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t just saying, ‘don’t swear’, he was reminding Timothy of the importance of what we say. In Ephesians 4:29, Paul has a similar message. In The Message, Paul’s words are translated like this:
Watch the way you talk,
Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth.
Say only what helps, each word a gift.
Each word a gift. What a great way of expressing it. This week, not only will I try to avoid harsh words, I’m also going to do my best to hand out a few word gifts. They might be spoken, they might be written, but the aim will be to build others up with what I say. I’ll let you know how it goes…
Is there someone you can give a word-gift to this week?