The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness. ~Proverbs 10:32
Have you ever said something that you regretted saying? Do you find yourself wanting to be careful to say the right thing at the right time? Our devotion this morning exhorts us about knowing when it is appropriate for us to speak. Solomon said that “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Let us consider this morning the importance of watching our lips.
We must be careful in what we say when it comes to our compliments.
It is always appropriate to give praise and honor to whom it is due. In fact, a key virtue of the Christian life is giving praise when someone does something right. Paul made many praiseworthy commendations of people who were a blessing to him. When we praise, we must do so with honesty and a proper description of what it is that you are praising the person for. We must be careful to acknowledge people close to us for their special days and make sure they feel a sense of being appreciated.
We must be careful in what we say when it comes to courtesy. We live in a time when there is so much rudeness and lack of courtesy. A Christian’s words such as “please,” “may I,” “excuse me,” “thank you,” and “I am sorry” should always be in our vocabulary. The exercise of common courtesies should be ingrained in a child very early in life. In fact, children need to be taught in all public settings to acknowledge and greet people that are in positions of authority and who are older than them.
We must be careful in what we say when it comes to comfort.
We must practice and pray over saying the right words to someone who is hurt and grieving. It is not appropriate to say, “I know how you are feeling” if you have never suffered a very similar problem. We must not come across as being “expert comforters” when others are hurting. Many times, it is best just to say, “I am so sorry you are going through this tough time. Is there anything I can do to help you?” In all cases, it is appropriate to offer to pray with the other person and to ask God to give them peace and comfort.
We must be careful in what we say when to comes to criticism.
All of us have been on the receiving end of criticism from some people who believe their gift in life is to correct everyone and everything. Many times, we have received sharp and unwarranted criticism. It is important that we do not allow those experiences to morph us into someone who is critical. Criticism should always be with the intent of being helpful and restorative. All criticism must be prayed over. It should be evaluated as to how the other person will receive it. It is alright to cause a sting when we criticize, as long as we intend not to leave the stinger in! It is never right to come across as self-righteous, and give the idea that if the other person does not conform to you that he or she is an evil person. If your modus of criticism is like that, then you will be avoided and become someone who is less than respected.
We must be careful in what we say when it comes our credibility.
Our words make or break our credibility. Speak the truth always. Have the right facts to support what you say and do not be a parrot of someone you heard. Avoid saying, “Someone told me” or “People are saying such and such” unless what that person said is completely verifiable. Be careful of making wrongful accusations. Do not be a participant in gossip. Be careful of reacting with angry words. Be careful of double talk.
Let us watch our lips! Let us remember that we should be quick to hear and slow to speak. It is always better to win a friend than to make an enemy. It is always better to restore than it is to destroy. Know what is acceptable with your lips.
Have a speech-conscious God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Jeremiah 46-48