Monday, April 5, 2010

Words of Encouragement

What are you talking about?

You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. You speak continually against your brother and slander your own mother's son. These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether [a] like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face. - Psalm 50:19-21

I'm sitting here at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, before Easter preparing this message. I had a heaviness upon my heart because of some of the things I have been hearing lately regarding the children of God. Why do we speak evil of one another? Why do we go on the job, into the church and other places and speak bad about one another? I have people asking for prayer because of the things being done to them. The problem is these "people" are not necessarily the unsaved but those that call themselves children of the most High God.
Do you work with a another Christian brother and sister but you refuse to treat them with respect? You do not speak well of them when you talk to others about them? You accuse them of things that really you do not have a clue is true or not? Do you gossip about the people you sit next to at church or talk about their "issues" when you shouldn't? Then guess what, that is evil speaking. It is evil speaking not because I said so, but because God has admonished us to encourage one another and to watch our mouth.
How do you know if you are guilty of this? Let's look at a few points:
1. When you speak about someone, is what you say good or bad? - If the only thing you can say about a person is something negative, then you need to change what you are saying.
2. Do you feel you are justified about what you say regarding a person? - If you say things about a person and you have a sense of being better than that person, I need to warn you. God's command is that we love one another. That means we do not treat people right only because we feel they are our equal or better than us. We are even to treat those that we may feel do not live up to our standards right. Besides, who are we to determine where a person stands? If Christ was willing to die so that all men could have the opportunity to be with him, who are we to say that someone is unworthy of our respect and good treatment?
3. Does it make you feel good to be able to point out others faults and flaws? - Many people do not understand that when they have a need to talk about or point out others flaws it is really because of their own insecurities within themselves. Oh, they hide it well. They may even be over-achievers. On the outside they may look polished and on top of their game. Yet inside, they are hurt, broken and bitter because of past things in their lives. They often find some relief by releasing it on others.
So what's the point? The point is this, like the scripture writer, I could no longer be silent. And can I say today that we have been too silent when we see these kinds of things going on. We see other believers on our jobs that do not treat others right, and we simply just shake our heads at them or worse we give them a listening ear. Today I challenge someone that if you work with or go to church with someone that always has something negative to say, that in love you let them know you will not listen anymore.
I remember once when I went to a banquet. One of the sisters at the table was talking negative non-stop. She had something negative to say about the event, the people and how slow the food was in coming. A minister at the table smilled at her and said in a very sweet voice, well you know, we are just going to be thankful. We have so much to be thankful for that we are not going to complain about any of that. I saw as she spoke that complaining, evil speaking spirit just dry up.
What if you are the one that speaks evil, complains? If you really want to change you can. How do you do it?
1. Seek God's forgiveness. - The first thing you have to do is ask God to forgive you for using your words to hurt and not to heal.
2. Change your mind. - What comes from your mouth did not start first with your lips. The scripture tells us to think on things that are pure, lovely and of a good report. My mother said it another way, if you can't think of anything nice to say, then don't say anything. As believers we need to change what we think. Sometimes that calls for us to examine our own hearts. Are you lashing out with your tongue because of your own hurts, insecurities?
3. Pray, it changes things. - You cannot change who you are without the help of the Lord. Daily you need to seek God to help you change those things that need to be changed within your heart. You also need to ask him to reveal to you who you are. When he does, then ask him to help you change those things that are not pleasing to him.
4. Make the commitment. - Nothing really matters if you have not made up in your heart that what God shows you and what you see yourself doing, you will change. No one will make you change and no one can do the work for you. You and I have to determine in our hearts that we will seek excellent service for God, otherwise we will not do it.
I pray for us this month that we determine to change every conversation we have. Ask yourself with each conversation you have this month, "WILL GOD BE PLEASED WITH WHAT I'M SAYING". or "IF I WAS SAYING THIS TO JESUS, HOW WOULD HE RESPOND TO ME?"
Prayer: Lord, today we seek you to help us speak words that will bring life, not death. Lord help us to be an encourage to one another. Let us show true love to each other. Help us stop tearing each other down and therefore, having a poor witness before this world. Lord I pray that all of your children will be convicted in their hearts to season their words with love and to speak with the humble understanding that every word we speak you hear them. Help us to be pleasing in your sight, amen.