I was recently reminded of the VENOM that sometimes comes out of our (my) mouths. You know…harsh words, slander, gossip, innuendo, critique etc…
We are (many of us) Christians, we love Jesus and yet we grapple with the words we speak…especially to fellow believers. Oh, we rarely have a “cussing fit” or just dress someone down…we are too clever for that. Our venom is much “prettier”.
- We are routinely sarcastic/funny at someone else’s expense.
- We exploit other’s weaknesses and say “just kidding”.
- We make fun of someone and invite them to laugh along, or consider them too sensitive if they don’t.
- We “rip” people when they are not around to defend themselves
I think most of us struggle with our words, in fact, if we don’t then we are “perfect” (James 3:2). So I am not addressing the occasional slip up or word spoken in anger. I am talking about the systematic tearing down of a brother or sister.
LUKE 6:45 “…for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of…”
JAMES 3:6 “…the tongue also is a fire, a world of evil…”
MATTHEW 15:18 “… the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.
SO here is the thing……We reveal WHO we REALLY are by WHAT we say to others…
THE GOSSIP: Reveals that He/She is INSECURE Gossip is idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. (Prov 18:8) NOTE: If your friends will talk about others when they are not around….they will talk about you when you are not around.
THE SLANDERER: Reveals that he/she is ARROGANT /JEALOUS A false defamation (expressed in spoken words, signs, or gestures) which injures the character or reputation of the person defamed. Happens all the time. Often cloaked in “teasing” but designed to keep folks “in their place”. INNUENDO – reveals that he/she is COWARDLY. They will not address something directly so they get to say it AND have “plausible deniability”. When asked if they said “it”…they are comforted by the fact that they didn’t actually use the words.
THE FLATTERER: Reveals that he/she is a MANIPULATOR/SHALLOW/CHILDISH Gossip involves saying something behind a person’s back what you would never say to his/her face. Flattery means saying something to a person’s face that you would never say behind their back.
THE CRITIC: The Root of most Criticism is ANGER/JEALOUSY Criticism is the judgment of the merits and faults of the work or actions of one individual by another (the critic). In an effort to tear down someone else’s work, we critique, judge and find fault where there is little to find.
Pretty revealing huh? SO what do I do? Well, since I’m guilty of all of the above, here is what I do.
- Focus on Building others up….
- Speak the truth in LOVE (Eph. 4:15)
- Refrain from gossip (Prov 16:28, 17:9, 26:20)
- Refrain from insincere FLATTERY (Prov 26:28)
- Stop running others down (James 4:11)
- Stop the SARCASM (Proverbs 26:24)