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 Issue #80 Mon, 17 Apr 2006

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seeker of truth

Female Number of posts : 2309
Age : 26
Real Name : Alyssa
Location : Eastern USA
Registration date : 2006-12-17

PostSubject: Issue #80 Mon, 17 Apr 2006   March 11th 2007, 23:40


The Power of Speech (Part 2)

Dear Youth,

Last week we looked at how our words play a significant part in deciding our destiny (See Devotional #79). This week, we will look at three areas in our speech that Satan has really capitalized in. These three areas are: gossip, criticism, and joking.

The first area we will look at is gossip. Gossip is usually spread without our even hardly realizing it. Just a little slip here and there, often ends in separating the best of friends, and even families. "A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends." (Proverbs 16:28 NKJV)

Gossip is a very tasty, appealing treat to us degenerate humans. We think in horror of the cannibals who feast on the still warm and trembling flesh of their victim, yet we think nothing of the way we digest the characters of our fellow human beings with the words we say. "The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body." (Proverbs 26:22 NKJV) "How many families season their daily meals with doubt and questionings! They dissect the characters of their friends and serve them up as a dainty dessert. A precious bit of slander in passed around the board to be commented upon, not only by adults, but by children. In this God is dishonored." (The Adventist Home, p. 440)

Isn't this so true? How many times do we serve our friends up for a tasty treat, especially at meal times? Satan knows that Godly friends will encourage one another to press on toward the ultimate goal, and so he has created a very clever, sly way to destroy God-given friendships. Gossip is Satan's most cunning plan to break down the golden chains of friendships.

You know, sometimes it sounds so easy to say that gossip is such a terrible tool of the Devil and that we should have no part in it. But, when it comes down to the practical every-day-happenings in life, we find that gossip is EXTREMELY hard to avoid! Take a close look at what most young people's conversation's are made up of. Usually most conversations are seasoned with gossip. Without realizing it, we can easily slip into the habit of sharing bits of news about a particular individual, perhaps even someone you love and respect very much.

The tool to overcome these habits is by "Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. . . .For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (2 Corinthians 10:5 & Matthew 12:34) When the temptation comes to share some news about somebody else that is none of your business to share, we need to immediately ask the question "Is this what Jesus would have me say right now?" And then surrender those thoughts to Him, and ask Him to give you new, positive thoughts that you can share about the person.

Philippians 4:8 sets a good standard for all to follow. "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." What you might have to share about a particular person may be true and honest, but does it match up to the rest of the criteria's? Is it lovely or of good report? Remind yourself of this text next time you're faced with the temptation to gossip.

Criticism is closely associated with gossip, although it is different. Criticism is probably most prevalent in families, although there's plenty to pepper our friendships also. We are told that "In the home the spirit of criticism and faultfinding should have no place." (The Adventist Home, p. 440)

Here's a little example of how criticism may creep into the home: The mother has taken a lot of trouble to prepare her family a nice meal. The table is set beautifully, and the blessing is said. First, the son notices that his mother has placed a large piece of pumpkin on his plate, "Why do you always have to pile so much pumpkin on my plate?" He grumbles. The daughter just can't STAND the rubbery glutens, and the father takes one bite and reaches for the salt-shaker: "You NEVER put enough salt in these vegetables!" He accuses his wife. How do you think the mother feels? She has put in so much effort to please her family and all she gets is a bunch of faults and complaints thrown in her face!

How much better it would have been if the son had said, "Oh, mother, I'm so glad you baked so many potatoes!" The daughter need not have even made mention of the glutens, but could have said, "The vegetables are cooked to perfection!" And the father could have politely reached for the salt-shaker, not mentioning anything about the lack of salt, but, instead make a positive comment about the glutens or something! Can you see the difference? I'm sure the next time the mother was preparing another meal for her family she would feel much more motivated to cook for a family who appreciates the labor of her hands.

There is no need to find fault in someone, or criticize them, because that's EXACTLY where Satan wants to divert our attention! It is his purpose to keep our minds focused on the faults of others, instead of looking to Jesus. We say that we love our families very much, but how many of us take into consideration what 1 Corinthians 13:5 says: "Love. . .thinks no evil." (NKJV) The love that God wants to give us will not think evil of others, or find fault in them. This is the kind of love that never fails! (See 1 Corinthians 13:4-Cool

The last area I would like to touch on, is joking. How many times have you heard someone say something quite nasty and inconsiderate, and then say, "Oh, I was just joking!" Usually people make these kinds of comments to exalt self and put the other person down. And then they say "Just joking" as a kind of cover-up, so it doesn't sound so bad! There is no need for this kind of behavior, it only puts others down and discourages them. We are told to "Encourage one another and build each other up." (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)

Even if others don't show it outwardly, these kinds of statements are like sharp arrows that pierce and wound the heart. It does nothing to point them toward Jesus, instead it diverts their attention to their physical appearance, their IQ, their inabilities and handicaps, and perhaps to certain situations they are placed in, that cannot be changed.

Solomon likens those who say mean things to others and then say "Just kidding!" to madmen who throw all kinds of deadly weapons around! "Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, 'I was only joking!' " (Proverbs 26:18-19 NKJV)

Gossip, criticism, and joking should not enter our conversations and interactions with others. There is no need to place others on a low scale with our words or actions. As Christ's representatives here on earth, we need to reflect Christ in everything we say and do. Our speech should be filled with grace and love. Sharp, harsh answers only wound the soul and lead others away from Christ. "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." (Colossians 4:6)

We read earlier that in order to have pure, sanctified speech, we need to have pure, sanctified thoughts, because our thoughts are reflected in our speech. But, how can we obtain pure, sanctified thoughts? Jesus says: "A new heart also will I give you." (Ezekiel 36:26) "The youth especially stumble over this phrase, "a new heart." They do not know what it means. They look for a special change to take place in their feelings. This they term conversion. . . .When Jesus speaks of a new heart, He means the mind, the life, the whole being. . . .To have a new heart is to have a new mind, new purposes, new motives." (Youth's Instructor, September 26, 1901)

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17) "The new birth consists in having new motives, new tastes, new tendencies. Those who are begotten unto a new life by the Holy Spirit, have become partakers of the divine nature, and in all their habits and practices they will give evidence of their relationship to Christ." (Review & Herald, April 12, 1892)

To have pure speech we need a pure heart, and this God will give to us if we surrender everything to Him. Just think of the returns we get when we sell all our sin and selfishness to buy Christ! Jesus is inviting you to come and buy Him, the Bread of Life. How will you answer His gentle calling? "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." (Isaiah 55:1-2)

--Stephanie Fox

PLEASE NOTE: All Bible verses are taken from the King James Version, unless stated otherwise.
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Issue #80 Mon, 17 Apr 2006
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