Tag Archive | slander

From the Heart to the Mouth

How many times during the day do we speak without really thinking first? Sometimes the conversation is quite innocent. What do you think about this weather? How’s your family? etc. etc.  No harm is done. It is just polite conversation that we use to engage with others.

Not all conversation is so innocent. We have all, at one time or another, gossiped or criticized others or repeated something we knew we shouldn’t, often without even thinking about what we were going to say before it slipped out! Our mouths are  capable of bringing encouragement and blessings to others or harm and destruction.  Wars have been started over words and wars have been ended by words. Our mouths have a lot of power behind them!  It’s been my prayer that God would daily remind me to use my words more carefully. To stop and weigh my words before spitting them out.

There is so much negativity around us. I like to follow the news but seldom is there anything edifying or uplifting to be found. It is usually full of wars, disasters, abuse and crime. Good news is hard to come by! The world is full of individuals that focus on the negative in their lives.  We all know people like this. They are the walking wounded that seldom have anything positive to say about their own lives or anyone elses. I’m not referring to people that are going through a difficult period and need encouragement here. We all need this from time to time but there are those who through their own confession have NOTHING good to say about anything or anyone. They are trapped in a cycle of voicing their woes and then experiencing exactly what they voice.

The Bible tells us that, But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” Matthew 15:18 NIV   What we say out loud is just an example of what is going on in our hearts.  If you find yourself being critical or negative on a regular basis it’s time to do some self examining.  Our negative words can be an overflow of bitterness or unforgiveness from inside us. If so, it’s time to get on our knees and confess it before God and ask for God’s forgiveness and also by an act of our will we need to forgive others we may be holding a grudge against. If we don’t deal with whatever is causing our negativity we will go around causing unnecessary hurt and damage to others by our words.

Just as we have the potential to cause pain to others with our words, we also have the ability to bring love, blessings and encouragement into their lives.  I know when I have gone through really difficult days and someone has called with a word of encouragement it’s been so uplifting.  Believers need to take serious God’s word and the importance it places on the power of our spoken words.

Proverbs 18:21 NIV 21 The tongue has the power of life and death.

Proverbs 13:3 NIV Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, 
    but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

Ephesians 4:29 NIV 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Proverbs 16:24 NIV 24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,  sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Colossians 3:8 NIV But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

Matthew 12:37 NIV 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Start fresh…ask God to help you guard your tongue and think before speaking. There are many people out there needing a kind word.


Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

The Bondage of Backbiting

So much damage can be done with our tongues. Benjamin Franklin had it right when he wrote, “Man‘s tongue is soft and bone doth lack: yet a stroke therewith may break a man’s back. “How often do we go around “breaking man’s backs,” thoughtlessly by gossip and backbiting. To some it comes so natural that they have forgotten what God really thinks about it. Some gossip in the guise of helping others, some do it out of a deep wound from the past, some just because they enjoy it.  There isn’t any of us that haven’t done it at one time or another.

Perhaps it’s time for us all to reacquaint ourselves with what God’s word says about it. The Bible doesn’t mince words with regards to this damaging behavior. In Proverbs 6 verses 16-19 (NIV) there are a few forms of backbiting and gossip listed among the seven things that are DETESTABLE to the Lord16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:17  haughty eyes, a lying tonguehands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness that pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

 Those are powerful words!  God not only doesn’t like these behaviors, He DETESTS them. This alone should cause us to really examine ourselves and how much we have allowed this behavior into our lives.  Often we develop a habit of gossip/backbiting because when we first do it there are no immediate ramifications. In fact, often other people really enjoy hearing it! For some people hearing negative words about another help them to feel more comfortable about their own lives. By bashing others they somehow feel superior. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a believer, it is a behavior that can block are relationship with God if we continue to participate in it. As with all deliberate sin, eventually the guilt begins to put a wedge between God and ourselves in our prayer life. We know we have participated in something we have no business doing and with that comes shame and when unconfessed, up goes the wall of guilt.  On top of this, if you are gossiping and backbiting about others you are not doing what God has called us to do and that is to intercede on their behalf!

There are many Bible verses in both the Old and New Testament outlining God’s view and direction on gossip and backbiting. We can all benefit by refreshing our minds and hearts with them.

Ephesians 4:29 NIV 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:31 NIV 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

Ephesians 23:1NIV23 “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.

1Peter 2:1NIV Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

James 4:11NIV 11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister (fellow believers) or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

Proverbs10:18NIV18 Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.

and finally wonderful advise to all of us…Ephesians 4:29NIV29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  

We need to not only read these verses but hide them in our hearts and NOT sin against them.  If we do, our personal witness will grow and the church body as a whole will become the place of healing people need it to be. There is enough tearing down in the world.  If it has been part of our lives we need to confess it as sin and ask God to forgive us and to change our hearts.

As the church, we are  called to edify and encourage one another.   Let’s start today!

1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”