Hello, families! I’m sharing with you all in the love of Christ and in the light of what He has shown me over the last few years in the area of speech. It has been a conviction of my heart for quite a while and is increasing as the days go by. This conviction is regarding how I speak to and about others, especially in my own family. Proverbs 15:1: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”, was introduced as a memory verse to my daughter three years ago, and it was something God began to show me that I did not do. Even as I write this, as I continue to seek to raise my children in the fear of the Lord, I am challenged by various difficulties in my calling to look to God for his help and guidance in my communication with my children. And I find that He is so good and faithful in that He shows us our hard hearts and the hearts of our children! Correcting them and persevering through their hard hearts and attitudes can be so difficult and time-consuming, and it can be easy to just throw up our hands and walk away with a bad attitude. I also find, though, that in the raising of my children, His Word is essential for teaching, correcting, rebuking, and training in righteousness so that they will be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16).
Luke 6:45: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth well; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” This is another verse that God faithfully reminds me of when I start spewing out venom in the forms of un-thankfulness, manipulation, criticizing, gossip, malice, slander, fear, self-righteousness. How powerful this verse is when I let it sink in! God tells us what to do with these things… [Eph. 4:1-3, 31 NIV] vs. 1: As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received; vs. 2: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love; vs. 3: Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace; vs. 31: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
As I go through my days, I become greatly burdened by how I hear others speaking to and about each other as well: conversations between parent and child and the obvious disrespect coming from either one, or both of them, in stores, in restaurants, homes, school; conversations between peers about parents or other children; and in conversations between adults. Gossip and slander easily slide off of our tongues, along with criticism and accusations. I am guilty of all of these as well. It is very easy to listen to gossip. But by God’s grace (after we have witnessed these things and maybe passed judgment or said a “Thank you, Lord that my family is not like that”) we go home, and He shows us that we do the same thing! Maybe you are one of those who will actually stop and pray for those people you see and hear. Praise the Lord for that! We all need help!
Here are some practical ways to help us in promoting godly speech:
1. Pray for one another in this area. Pray for one another’s children in this area.
2. When we speak unkindly to someone (whether it is our child or someone else), ask for forgiveness and seek to rephrase what we have said by saying something like: “I was wrong in how I said that, let me try that again.” This helps to model godly communication to our children and to others.
3. Try to ask yourself if what you want to say to someone really needs to be said.
4. Be thankful instead of offended when another parent corrects our children for foul language, improper joking or gossip.
5. Rejoice when other parents let us know about these issues they see in our children. Since we can’t be around our children all the time, another pair of caring eyes is helpful so that we may address these concerns at home.
The latest area where evil communication manifests itself is on social media, through texting, or emails. It can be so easy to say something through written words instead of face-to-face. We can have a false sense of security that what we write on social media will not really affect people that much, or since we don’t have to see those people face-to-face, then we are bolder in how we speak. For me, social media, texting, and emailing have weakened my ability to face hard truths with another person face-to-face. I cower at the thought of actually discussing these things that are on my mind and heart with that person. It is easy also using media/electronics to just ignore the comments and never finish a conversation because we don’t feel like it or need to think about what to say next, and we just leave it open-ended with never any closure. We can become very heartless and hurtful communicating this way. We can begin hiding from people until we confess our sins to the Lord and to those we may have hurt, or those who have hurt us.
Our children also can, and do sometimes, misuse social media – using it to hurt others. We need to train and warn our children about this. If need be, we must be willing to take devices away from our children.
I am so thankful for 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” and for Romans 8:1: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” These verses make it a lot easier to come to Him with confession for the sins of communication with which we can struggle as well as encourages us to seek His grace to honor and glorify Him in our speech.
May we, as the body of Christ, press on to help and encourage one another in growing in these areas.
Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Other verses for more encouragement. Proverbs 10:12, 12:16, 15:1, 28:25; Romans 12:1-21; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11; Ephesians 4:1-3, 31; Phil 4:4-9; 1 Timothy 3:11, 2Timothy 2:22-26; James 3:5-6, 8-10, 14-18, 4:11; 1 Peter 2:1, 3:3-6, 4:1-3; Revelation 22:7