Words. What are they? Are they just sounds that come out of our mouths? Well, James 3:2 says, We all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to restrain the whole body. How can that be? Just what kind of power do our words have? Some TV preachers say that our words can speak wealth into existence. Well, to put it kindly, that's a bunch of bunk! However, we can do so many things with our words.
WE DEFILE OURSELVES.
"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man."
Jesus is saying that the words we use are important. Let me set the scene: as Jesus and His disciples are sitting down to eat, the Pharisees come along. Now, at the time, people thought that the Pharisees, well they just had it all together. They had that whole "religion thing" going on. Unfortunately, that "religion thing" was nothing more than a bunch of man-made rituals. And what Jesus was telling these guys was, "Look, all the little rituals you have. They look really good. But it's not the way things look that's important. It's what comes out from the inside that makes you the person you are." And when we consider that the word "defile" means "to make unclean or impure, to corrupt the purity or perfection of something or someone," we can see how that happens when we aren't careful with our words. And we don't defile others with our words, we defile ourselves.
WE DEGRADE OTHERS.
Proverbs 18:8; 26:22
The words of a talebearer are like wounds, they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
To degrade means "to make someone look bad; especially to other people." A talebearer is a rumor monger, or gossip. We humans love to gossip. We sure can talk about people. That's why we see celebrities on magazines. But let me ask you this: Will it matter if Brad and Angelina get married? I wont lose sleep----but some people--if you do, fine. Well, in a way gossip is almost a part of our human nature. Even though when we do, we are "wounding someone in their belly." Now, what does it mean that words "go into the belly"? Well, if you want someone to die a slow death, shoot them, or stab them, in their belly. They'll bleed to death, it hurts. That's what our words do to each other. If you remember when you were a kid, what did your mom always tell you to say? "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me". How wrong that is. Do you know that when a child suffers emotional abuse, its effects last years longer than physical abuse?
WE DAMAGE OUR WITNESS.
No man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless GOD, and with it we curse men. Out of the same mouth comes blessing and cursing. Does a spring send forth both fresh and bitter water?...No spring sends forth both salt water and fresh water.
Have you ever heard about someone who talks out of both side of their mouth? Someone who is "two-faced" Today, the world looks at the church, and says, "I don't go to church because it's full of hypocrites." You know, it's easier for our words to drive people away from Christ than it is for them to bring people to Christ? Our actions may speak louder than our words, but our words still do speak.
A fellow I used to work with told me about the time he went fishing with a preacher. Well, the preacher got a fish, and as he was reeling it in, he let loose with a stream of four letter words. Now, I ask you: Suppose this preacher was the only "church" person he saw. I was on a miision trip a couple years ago with Appalachian Outreach, a group that helps poor people rebuild their homes. And I'll never forget what I heard at the orientation. And it was a girl that was about eighteen or nineteen that said it. She told us, and I quote: "You may be the only Jesus these people may ever see." How's that for an awesome responsibility? We have to ask ourselves, how do we want people to see Jesus?
WE DELIGHT THE LORD.
Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth, keep watch over the door of my lips.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise counselor in an obedient ear.
When we join together to sing praises, we bless the LORD. And no matter what some may think about people that shout "Amen", that blesses the LORD. When we teach our children Bible verses, that blesses the LORD. And when we are preaching the word, we bless the LORD. That verse in Proverbs, what that's talking about is this: If you craft an apple out of gold, it's pretty. But when you set it in a silver backdrop, it is spectacular. For example, we can know a whole bunch about the Bible. And that's a very good thing. That's an "apple of gold". But when we see a brother or sister needing a word, we take our "apples of gold", and use them for GOD's glory. We are putting them, as it were, in a setting of silver.
WE DEVELOP HIS CHURCH.
Let no corrupt words come from your mouth, but rather that which is good for the building up of the body, that it may impart grace to the hearer.
Sometimes, we'll say something, and we'll have what I call, "not-so-bad" intentions. Well say, "You know, so-and-so's a good person. Too bad he's dealing with..." But when we see each other, and we have a kind word for that person, we can take that passage I quotes earlier from Matthew, and turn it around. And if we do, it says something like this: "Those things that proceed from the mouth come from the heart, and they bless a man." And that is so much better than evil thoughts, etc.
WE DETERMINE OUR SALVATION.
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart GOD raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one belives unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
You see what he says. You first have to believe in your heart. Then, once you believe it in your heart, you have to confess it with your mouth. You can't just keep it bottled up inside of you. It has to come out of you. That word confess means to get your thinking in line with GOD's thinking. Then, we get our words in line with GOD's Word. We confess with our mouth--to GOD, yes. And to others also. I was at the laundromat one time, and I ran into a woman who had just got baptized. And I gotta tell ya. If the gates of heaven had opened up, we'd have had to move. She would have just walked through those gates. She would have sprinted