By Mel Futrell
In this new year of 2019 it might be good to recall what we needed to “take back” last year because of unguarded speech. There is an adage that says, “The spoken word is like the last opportunity, it doesn’t come back.” And what a true statement that is. Brethren, how many times in our lives have we made some remark and almost immediately regretted the utterance? In all likelihood it is a fault we have succumbed to numerous times through the years. But words once spoken cannot be recalled. So we honestly try to lessen the impact by saying: “I didn’t mean it,” “That’s not what I intended to say,” “I take it back.” Sometimes this helps, but usually the damage has been done.
Is it any wonder our Lord said, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Mt. 12:34-37). Without a doubt, our speech is an extremely important part of our Christian life. And being human we are sometimes rash — our speech is no exception. It often times leaves something to be desired. But is our speech beyond our control, or can it be measured by choice? The Bible indicates the latter is the correct response. And the voice of Scripture rings out with this affirmation.
Solomon said, “Be not rash with thy mouth…a fool’s voice is known by a multitude of words” (Ecclesiastes 5:2-3). The great apostle Paul proclaimed, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:6). Commenting on this verse one Bible commentator said:
“Of particular importance in the Christian’s relationship with those outside the church is his speech, which is indicative of his character and provides an avenue for influence. Paul reminds his readers that their speech should always be gracious or ‘acceptable.’ The unique character of Christian speech is then further defined: Christian speech should be seasoned with salt.”
And the inspired James said we could and should bridle our tongues, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26).
Brethren, we seldom get in trouble for what we do not say, but rather for what we do say and how we say it. And that might be an understatement! Let us not render our religion vain by false and/or careless speech. Let us determine in this new year we’ve been blessed to see, to measure our speech and to heed the words of the little children’s song, “Be careful little tongue what you say.”