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The difficult task of knowing when not to speak

In the Bible the book of James talks about how we are to bridle our tongues.  It says how can blessings and cursings come out of the same mouth and that the tongue is uncontrollable.  Jesus said to have our speech be seasoned with salt.

There was an experience that happened with my relative a while back.  I said something where I basically just stuck my foot in my mouth, which is just an expression for saying the wrong thing, and she gave me the silent treatment for a long time.  She was an unbeliever so she had not grasped the concepts of forgiveness, but in the process she taught me a very important lesson, which as of late I seemed to have forgotten.  In the process she taught me how to respect her and to be sensitive what I say to her.  I loved my relative and I did not want her to be mad at me and hoped that she would eventually forgive me and she did.  God is the same way and His anger can be kindled so much more, but sometimes we don’t realize that.  We kind of take Him for granted and not give Him the respect that He deserves.  Sometimes we don’t give God the same respect we give to other people, and even when we are mad at other people, we don’t give them the respect not to talk about them behind their back.  I know my relative can have a bad temper at times, but God can have a temper too.  I knew my relative loved me, but she was just angry with me for awhile.  God is the same way.

Isaiah 54 says,

“With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
Says the Lord, your Redeemer.

I know we should never do anything to make God mad at us, and we should never never never do that, but if in the current moment we may think that God is mad at us, it is ok, because He still loves us, and it says that He chastens those He loves.  If He loves you He chastens you.  He is not going to stay angry forever.  He may just distance Himself from you for awhile for one to see how much you will go after Him, and how much you will realize the way you hurt him, and how He feels about the situation.  We are so caught up in how we feel about what’s going on in our lives.  We are so concerned with all the circumstances, and our reactions to it, that we forget that God has a heart too, and we need to be sensitive to it, and not try to dishonor it.  I’m not saying we’ll be perfect all the time, but through life we’ll learn lessons, and learn how to trust Him, and how to depend on Him, so that we can learn how to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God.  So even during these times if it seems like your walking through darkness, or that it may seem like there are no answers, God is still there, and He’s still waiting for you to turn around.  He’s waiting to pick up all the pieces of your broken life.  He’s there to restore the damage that’s been made out of your life and to give you beauty for ashes.

Sometimes when we speak out of anger or frustration or because we just don’t know how to handle the situation we are facing, and we haven’t exactly learned how to keep our tongue under control, there will be times when we’ll be reminded of what God feels like.  We don’t like it when people are frustrated and angry with us, so then when shouldn’t be angry or frustrated with God for all the things going on.  He’s in control, and so many times in our lives we’ve tried to take control and not to submit to authority, and not to discipline ourselves in various areas.  I am not even saying that I have mastered anything in application in my life, but it’s only through the grace of God that I am able to share with you all on this journey.  We need to stop beating ourselves up for our mistakes and even the things we may say out of our mouths, but before we do that we need to take time to think and make decisions on how we are going to try to work on improving our attitudes.  We get so caught up in religious activities that we don’t actually take time to think and see how we are going to apply all that we have learned in the Bible.  We have to pray, and read the Word of God, but on days when it may be even hard to get out of bed in the morning then we need to know what kind of power we have waiting inside of us to make life for us, and how we can take Biblical examples of guarding our mouth, and ask us to show us His heart.  How many days would you like to go without God speaking to you?  Not very long I’d suppose.  So in that time more than really praise or worship or any other thing that we’ve tried to seek God with, we need to ask God, and to think how we can change our mindset.  It’s one thing to read the Word of God as just words, stories, and narratives, but it’s another thing to make it an application.  Start with one thing and then see what else you can improve on.  Some people that have an issue with their mouth, like gossiping have an issue with forgiveness, which is an area where we ALL need to work on.  If you have mastered the area of forgiveness then you are miles high then most of us Christians.  Most Christians are biting each other’s heads off all the time, and it’s so sad in the Church.  There are times when we’ve had people we respected lie to us, and we forget that we’ve lied ourselves, so that needs forgiveness.  We’ve had people come and say the  wrong thing at the wrong time and not shown compassion towards us, but then we fail to see how we’ve not been compassionate toward them in their hour of need.  There was a song by Mariah Carey called, Love takes time, which I don’t usually condone of secular music, but there are songs out there that really speak to me.  It goes something like “Love takes time to heal when you’re hurting so much”  Depending on what has happened in your life and how you’ve gone through life, I’m sure you’ve had to learn how to forgive and may be still learning when not to speak.

Sometimes when we at our weakest moments, we just say things, and we can all learn a lesson from Jesus when He was on trial he just was silent, and they didn’t like it, because they wanted Him to say something to convict Himself.

There was a story of a television show where there was a man who was in jail and when he was in jail, they would question him, and all he did when they questioned him he kept silent.  I think there was a Biblical principle behind that somewhere.

There’s always wisdom in knowing when not to speak and to speak.  So we should learn the principle of when to keep silent.  There’s another secular song called “Enjoy the Silence”.  We must choose words carefully, and when we are not perfect, then we should keep things to ourselves.

 

Pierce your tongue

Many of us are offended because we cannot control our tongues.  We gossip and backbite, and many people are offended because of what people say.  The Word says that, “Life or Death, is in the power of the tongue.”  When people continue to use their tongue whether it be people in the pulpit or people in the pews, it can cause divisions and factions among people.  This is what Paul was talking about in Corinthians when he said, “Some of you say I am of Paul,” “Some of you, of Cephas, and some of you of Apollos”.  He was talking about the divisions between the factions among the people.  He was trying to unite people, while people were just trying to pick sides in the Body of Christ, when the Body of Christ is actually one.

One of the contributing factors to disagreements between church members is gossipping and backbiting.  When we can’t control our mouths, and this is part of the fruit of the Spirit, then this leads to areas of our lives that can lead to destruction because when we can’t control our mouths, the destiny to love has been taken out of the picture.

This is why I find James 3 very profound, and very applicable to the way we are supposed to lead our lives.

Taming the Tongue

 1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

Sometimes we have church leaders, and they have their spiritual leaders, who in their preaching may cause others to stumble if they are not careful.  They may be trying to preach the Word of God, and what God has revealed to them, but they have to take in to consideration and so does the rest of the body of Christ – 1 Peter 5

To the Elders and the Flock

 1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

 5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

   “God opposes the proud 
   but shows favor to the humble.”[a]

 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

 

When we let their be disagreements between our leaders or others in the Body of Christ, then the whole body is hurting.  These disagreements can also be dug in deeper when talk about the leaders or other members in the Church.

One of the things that deters forgiveness in a person life is not being able to control the tongue.  There’s a saying – if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.  So what are Church members supposed to do when they are seething inside.  This is a time to talk to God because the whole Christian walk is about your relationship to God and how much you know Him, and how close you walk to Him.  You really need to spend time with Him.  Sometimes that may include getting into His Word, but sometimes, and it should be more often cultivating this relationship with Him, where you can confide in Him, when you don’t have anyone to confide in.  You can trust God with your problems and He is there to answer, and He will be the solution to your problems.  Some people have been so sheltered that they always have somebody to talk to, but the real test comes when you are alone with Him.  When you are alone with Him, how do you spend your time?  Some people might think, how can I come to Him always with problems, but that’s what He is there for.  He is your Counselor.  He is there to meet your needs.  He is El Shaddai, He is Jehovah Jireh.  He is Jesus Christ our Lord, and in Him we can trust.  Sometimes we just have to go through things with that relationship with Him without contributing to idle talk, gossip, and slander.  If you know someone else is going to gossip about someone, avoid talking to them about the person they don’t like and just stay on neutral issues.

James 3 continues:

 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

This particularly talks about how what we say can set a whole things in motion.  What we say can affect our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions.  They can keep us walking out of love.  So we must bridle or pierce the tongue as not to start a whole forest fire of problems, which no one can control, and it just takes God’s glory out of life.

 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Apparently, the Holy Spirit had given James an understanding of human nature, which is so prevalent in society today.  He says that we can be singing “Hallelujah!” at church, and then come home and say, “I don’t like the way the pastor is preaching; I don’t like the way the worship team is singing; I don’t like the way someone does this or that.”  He new it was human nature, but it wasn’t Christ’s nature, He didn’t gossip about people.  Proverbs talks about widows that are true widows and false widows who are just busybodies, that like to go around gossipping about other people.  That kind of reminds me of the Matchmaker in Fiddler on the Roof, (I have yet to finish watching that movie), but Proverbs talked women that had no other business than to go around and talk about other people.  The Bible also tells us to “mind your business”.  It’s your own life you need to be worried about, and not theirs.  Proverbs like I mentioned before in one of my other blogs says “Foolish people vent, but a wise man keeps things to himself.”  It takes restrain on our part that helps in that area and discipline.  We can be going two or three days without talking about the person, but then can we keep it up?  Can we keep it up for the rest of our lives?  Can we say to ourselves that I am not going to let anyone’s actions defile my mouth?  Because it may be too late in some cases and it can even tear you away from the Word of God because you won’t be able to concentrate and have the proper focus and rightly divide the Word of God because you have set your rudder off course by not controlling your tongue.

Some Christians even though they think they are well intentioned say, “Please pray about this person. This person has this ‘sinful issue’ or ‘unsatisfactory walk with God'”  But they are defaming that person’s reputation.  No one wants to defame the person’s reputation, but it gets defamed.  I think we’re all guilty of that as Christians at some point.  Remember what you do in secret, God rewards you openly.  The same can be applied to what we say about others in secret.  Everything is going to be revealed.  Nothing is hidden from God’s sight. God is going to look at you the same as he looks at the next person.  We shouldn’t judge others because by the same measure we will be judged.  You can start off your gossip by saying, “I don’t want to judge, but…”  Well if you don’t want to judge then don’t.  If you don’t want to criticize then don’t.  Jesus said, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”  If you wanted someone talking about you everytime you walked out of the room then would you like that?

If you’ve ever been around a Schizophrenic person who has paranoia and thinks everyone is talking about them, then that is a devestating thing to watch especially when it’s you who is going through it.  If you wouldn’t want everyone watching you and talking you and mocking you and gossipping about you then don’t do that to other people.  Stay away from people that like to gossip and learn to be happy in silence.  If your still suffering in your heart then talk to God about it.  I am sure He understands.  He will bring peace to the situation.  Pour out your heart to God.  After a while of gossipping so much about a person you start to distrust them, and when you distrust them, then that shows that you have built distrust into into your character.  Or that you have a critical nature that has to be put on the altar.

Remember in Exodus the Israelites were complaining about Moses and Aaron, and how they didn’t like the way the two of them were leading the flock of the Israelites?  Moses and Aaron said, “who are we that you are complaining against us?”.  Sometimes we hold people in leadership up on a platform that we judge them by higher standards, but essentially we are to not judge them as much as we judge ourselves.  Jesus said, “We see the speck in our brother’s eye, but we don’t see the plank [or log]in our own eye.”  Sometimes when we hear a sermon we think, oh, so and so can use that sermon, but we fail to look at our own heart and say that this really applies to me and how can I change?  If it doesn’t affect you then, it will affect you later.

I think Joyce Meyer put it best, “Sometimes you have a nose brushed right up against an armpit”.  It may be uncomfortable for a while, but if you can endure to the point that you do not sin then that is victory for you and every little victory builds up in this tower of faith that’s being built for the kingdom of God.

I was going to talk about this message before, and I don’t know if I have a post with the same exact topic, but this needed to be said.  Especially now.  Especially now that the Church or Body of Christ and Pastors are being attacked like never before.

Heavenly Father,

I pray that You unite the Body of Christ each according to it’s function and restore peace among it’s members.  Unite us with You being the Head of the faith, and let people founded on the rock of Your salvation enter into your rest.  Help the Body of Christ in it’s weak areas and help build us to be divine carriers of the Christ kind of love to the nations.  As it declared in Heaven so shall it be on Earth.

In Jesus Mighty Name I pray,

Amen