Edwards’ Resolution #16

Posted: Monday, January 27, 2014 in Resolutions

download16. Resolved, Never to speak evil of any one, so that it shall tend to his dishonour, more or less, upon no account except for some real good. 

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it.” We have heard it from our childhood and shared it with our own children. “Bite your tongue.” “Think before you speak.” “you don’t have to say the first thing that pops into your mind.” We remember – but do we honor these things?

The Scriptures speak to certain “types” or “categories” of sins. Paul’s list of vices typically begins with sexual sins, but almost every list has an imperative to put to death the sins of the tongue: gossip, slander, backbiting, foolish and obscene talk, course talk and jesting, lying, quarreling, reviling. Consider these words from James:

James 1:19-21, 26 – [19] Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; [20] for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. [21] Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls… [26] If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

James 3:5-10 – [5] So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! [6] And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. [7] For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, [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.

The entire epistle of James is given to our speech – “If we say…”  We don’t have to speak audibly in this regard. We “talk to our selves,” try to convince our selves. It is in these things, whether audible or not, that our hearts are revealed. What is on the inside will come out (Mt 15:8, 18) We can lie to others, we can deceive our selves (Jer 17:9).

Resolved, Never to speak evil of any one.

Enough said (no pun intended). Guard your tongue!

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