Friday, January 9, 2009

Sins of the Tongue

I recently finished the book Respectible Sins by Jerry Bridges. I learned so much and have a lot to work on. Before I forget all the God showed me through this book, I wanted to get some thoughts together to help reinforce what I learned. Maybe you'll find it helpful too.

The first chapter I want to summarize is on sins of the tongue.
Watch this video first.

James 3:8-10
8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

Ephesians 4:29
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

In his book, Bridges says that "any speech that tends to tear down another person-either someone we are talking about or someone we are talking to - is sinful speech." He includes lying, slander, critical speech, harsh words, insults, sarcasm, and ridicule as sins of the tongue.

gossip- the spreading of unfavorable information about someone else, even if that information is true.
Indulging in gossip seems to feed our sinful ego, especially when the information we're passing along is negative. It makes us feel self-righteous by comparison....Ephesians 4:29 not only tells us what kinds of speech to put off, it also tells us what to put on. It is only such speech that builds up and gives grace to those who hear it. Therefore, when we are tempted to gossip, we should ask ourselves, Will what I'm about to say tend to tear down or build up the person I'm about to talk about?

slander- making a false statement or misrepresentation about another person.
Bridges says that we slander when we ascribe wrong motives to people, even though we can't see their hearts or know their particular circumstances.

critical speech- negative comments about someone that may be actually true but doesn't need to be said.
The ?'s we should ask ourselves about these kinds of comments are Is it kind? and Is it needful? By this he mean's does it need to be said?
With this sinful speech he includes, harsh words, sarcasm, insults, and ridicule. All of which tend to put down, humiliate, or hurt the other person. He points out that this type of speech most often comes from an attitude of impatience or anger.

For me, this is an area God has shown me that I need to work on. Mainly in regards to disciplining my kids. It's easy for me to use critical speech when the kids are disobeying or have done something wrong. Like after asking them to brush their teeth and they slowly putz around and I become impatient and say something like "How many times do I have to tell you to brush your teeth!" or "When are you going to learn to obey right away!" Bridges correctly points out that these kind of responses only serve to vent our impatience and humiliate the child. Yes, kids need to learn to obey their parents, but we are not to provoke them to anger.

Ephesians 6:1-4
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

He sums up by pointing us to Matthew 12:34- "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."
Behind all of our sinful speech is our sinful heart. The tongue is only the instrument that reveals what is in our heart. So may I be mindful of my words and pray like David when he said-
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. -Psalm 19:14


sophie said...

you put a lot of stuff on your blog since last time I looked at it. nice movie! ;)

Granola said...

Very well put! Man I have to bite my tongue a lot when dealing with kiddos!