Read Proverbs 16
The values of pleasing the Lord and choosing wisdom.
An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is a burning fire. A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends (Prov. 16:27-28).
Once words have escaped the lips, they cannot be recovered. The damage done by insults and careless gossip possibly exceeds the damage done by crimes that have sent others to prison. The Lord includes gossipers, backbiters, whisperers, and maliciousness among the vilest of sins (Rom. 1:28-32). We must remember that as we speak evil of someone that we may never be able to reverse what has been said. You might be able to make retribution for some crimes; give back money that was stolen; repair property that was vandalized; even pay the medical cost for an assault; but you can't undo murder! That is exactly what we are capable of doing with our lips. We can destroy the character and testimony of people who are often not even remotely guilty of that for which they are accused. We must reign in our tongues. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile (I Pet. 3:10).
Thoughtless gossip releases a cruel stream that flows on and on, spreading destruction wherever it goes. The psalmist's prayer should be ours: Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips (Ps. 141:3). We must ask the Lord to help us guard against speaking evil of one another. We are not instructed by the Word to tear each other down. To the contrary, God's Word calls us to lift each other up. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).
Words of criticism that were spoken as idle conversation are no longer idle. They are very busy, undermining the helpless victim. These words go on impacting the life of the person they have been spoken against for years to come. Rumors spread much quicker than you could ever imagine. That is why Jesus so strongly condemned this vicious evil, saying: Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment (Matt. 12:36).
Paul outlines the Christian way in Phil. 4:8-9. He also tells us to: Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt (Col. 4:6). Titus cautions us to speak evil of no man (Tit. 3:2). James warns that even though the tongue cannot be tamed we are to speak not evil of another (James 4:11).
Thought for Today:
The destructive force of evil words goes on and on.
As the One who punishes the proud (Prov. 16:5). Jesus said: Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased (humbled); and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Luke 14:11). As the Friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24), Jesus is our Friend (John 15:14-15) and will never leave (us), nor forsake (us) (Heb. 13:5).
16:2 spirits, motives; 16:8 without right, dishonestly gained; 17:18 striketh hands . . . surety, gives a pledge to be responsible for his neighbor's debts; 18:2 discover itself, express itself; 18:3 with ignominy reproach, with dishonor and disgrace; 19:3 fretteth, is resentful; 19:7 they are wanting to him, they abandon him; 19:13 a continual dropping, an unending irritation.
Pray for Staff: Micheal Moore • Government Official: Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO) • Country: Mozambique (19 million) on the eastern coast of Africa • Major language: Portuguese • Religious freedom • 40% worship of false gods, ancestral spirits, and some witchcraft; 23% Roman Catholic; 14% Protestant; 13% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Bless the Lord at all times regardless of circumstances (Ps. 34:1).
Optional Reading: Hebrews 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 6:9