Vetting Our Words

“Silence is golden” they say.

Maybe it is because in those quiet moments, when the world is loud and you are quiet, the wealth you are accumulating will be needed to pay the high price of saying too much.

Learning to tame the tongue is more than just bracing yourself against a casual faux pas.  Those words on the tip of your tongue didn’t just appear out of nowhere and casually fill up the atmosphere.

They began in the heart.

Don’t you realize that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is eliminated? But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man.  Matthew 15:17-18

Negativity. Harshness. Judgement. Criticism.

We have all fallen prey.  As both a giver and a receiver.

And there are consequences.

We don’t really listen.  We hear only what we want to hear. We say what we want to say without considering the ramifications, without vetting our words–and our focus becomes short-sighted and twisted until,

ALL.

WE.

SEE.

IS.

OURSELVES.

And it ain’t pretty.

Whether you are on the receiving end, or you are the giver of such a gift: you are miserable.  Either way, the damage is done and that license to “speak my mind” will ultimately put us on a path of regret…

…and the only way to turn it around is repentance.  Confessing it as sin, I must choose a different path:

Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.  But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  I John 1:5-9

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:8-9

I haven’t written much lately because I am guarding my words.

No, I didn’t say something that I regret.

But I wanted to.

And that says that I was teetering way too close to the edge. Closer than I want to get–and farther away from my desire to be an encourager.  The negativity I have seen on social media lately is wearing on me.  It is brother against brother.  Friend against friend. And what grieves me most are believers who are criticizing the Bride of Christ: the church.  Words of judgment instead of healing. Hurling insults and all too eager to “cast the first stone”.

As Christ followers, we are called to be a light in a dark world.  We are not The Light–but we are to be a reflection HIS LIGHT to a lost and dying world. When we use social media to rant or to judge, we are sending quite a different message to unbelievers: Disunity. Discord. Judgment. Selfishness. Unforgiveness.

There are a lot of people I care deeply about that haven’t discovered The Light yet.  These friends and family members are bombarded with all kinds of negative messages from the world, and I, for one don’t want to contribute to the darkness.  I want them to see something different in me.

You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:14-16

And so, forgive me.

Forgive me, Lord, and forgive me, friends, if there was even a hint of it coming from my mouth.  I am trying to remember the truth that I am held accountable for every word that comes out of my mouth. Even as I type, I am praying that this very post would not come across as harsh or judgmental or directed at anyone but me. I want the lessons I learn to be quite the opposite.  I am accountable to God and God alone.  My desire is to love as Christ loved.  To let the Holy Spirit do His job–without my stepping in uninvited–and to follow the Biblical principle of taking any grievance directly to a brother or sister in private.  Speaking up for truth is a given, but caution says, “Speak the truth in love.”

Psalm 19

So there it is. I am laying it out there.  My opinions amount to nothing, so when I do speak, I need to choose my words carefully. Anything that I might say or do had better be vetted through the Word and through the Holy Spirit.  He is the only one that sees the heart.  Thankfully, He knows our intentions and helps us in our weakness.

“And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you can approve the things that are superior and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.”  Philippians 1:9-11

Related topics: Preaching To Myself, http://reallifeonrockytop.com/2017/02/01/preaching-to-myself/

  4 comments for “Vetting Our Words

  1. February 3, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Social media makes it very easy for us to fling our thoughts our there without regard for the damage words can do. I have been purposely not responding to comments on SM that I find irritating because I don’t want to get into a battle of words. It helps no one. I do struggle with feeling like I am burying my head in the sand because of my silence. Your post helped reaffirm my decision to be careful with my words and that it is okay not to say something.

    Like

    • February 4, 2017 at 6:35 am

      Annika, Thanks for stopping by, and yes, sometimes these battles are far too easy to get caught up in and even though it feels like our silence is surrender, I like to say I’m surrendering my words to the HS to let Him do the work. 🙂

      Like

  2. February 2, 2017 at 6:47 am

    That’s so easy to do if we’re not careful! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    Like

  3. atimetoshare.me
    February 1, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Thanks, Vickie. Its so easy to get wrapped up in all the conflict around us and I find myself writing things I would never say out loud. Thanks for the reminder!

    Like

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