honoring God with our words
“She is so stupid.”
These words slid out of my mouth like they were going down a slide at a water park. I knew I didn’t believe this line about my friend, but in one sharp sentence I cut her down behind her back. Isn’t it amazing how we can so easily criticize other people – even people we call friends? We know we want to wholeheartedly follow Jesus in all areas of our life, but we say things we know we don’t truly mean.
In James 3, we learn this isn’t a new challenge for Christ followers. Our tongue has the power to praise God in one breath, then curse people in another. James gets real with us in verses 9 and 10 when he writes, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.” (NIV) He tells us our tongue is a small thing that can make a huge difference when it comes to faithfully following Jesus. Isn’t that the truth?
As Jesus followers, the best use of our tongue is to praise God; to uplift others, encourage, speak truth, and breathe life. The worst use of our tongue is to cut down others made in His image; to talk behind people’s backs, criticize, and judge. Wholeheartedly following Jesus means wholeheartedly monitoring what we say.
So, how do we get better at this?
By being quick to listen, quick to show empathy, and slow to speak. Everyone we cross paths with is someone Jesus died for. When we face those tempting moments to carelessly gossip or complain about another person, I encourage you to pause. Pray. Invite Jesus into your heart and mind so that what flows from your mouth is from Him. You’re a valuable, integral part of the Kingdom and so are the people around you!
How can you honor God and others with your words today?