By Randy Alcorn, posted July 1 and 15, 2020, at: http://www.epm.org
This is the third and final in a series of Bible verses on the impact and importance of our words. The following verses remind us of the importance of speaking words full of both grace and truth, and, that we are accountable to God for every word we speak.
GRACE AND TRUTH
Read the gospels, and you’ll see that most sinners loved being around Jesus. They enjoyed His company, sought Him out, invited Him to their homes and parties. Today many sinners don’t want to be around Christians. Unbelievers tore off the roof to get to Jesus. Sometimes they crawl out the windows to get away from us.
Why is that? What did Jesus show them that we often don’t? Grace.
People sensed that Jesus loved them, even when He spoke difficult words. He was full of grace and truth: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
If our words and our actions accurately demonstrate both the grace and truth of Jesus, some will be drawn to us and others will be offended by us—just as they were by Jesus.
Sometimes showing grace requires silence. Other times it requires speaking up. If you see a friend making poor choices that may result in later grief, you owe him the truth.
Unfortunately, many nonbelievers know only two kinds of Christians: those who speak the truth without grace and those who are very nice but never share the truth. What they need to see is a third type of Christian—one who, in a spirit of grace, loves them enough to humbly tell them the truth.
Reflect on what God’s Word has to say:
SPEAK THE TRUTH:
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies (Psalm 34:13).
A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free (Proverbs 19:5, 9).
The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful (Proverbs 12:22).
SAY WHAT PEOPLE NEED TO HEAR, NOT JUST WHAT THEY WANT:
Whoever flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet (Proverbs 29:5).
He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue (Proverbs 28:23).
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses (Proverbs 27:5-6).
Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ (Ephesians 4:15-16).
Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you (Proverbs 9:7-8).
USE WORDS FULL OF GRACE:
The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit (Proverbs 15:4).
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Proverbs 16:24).
An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up (Proverbs 12:25).
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace… (Romans 14:19a).
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6).
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:29-32).
I especially love that last passage, and am convinced that if believers truly took to heart Ephesians 4:29 (“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths”), it would radically change our conversations. If we do so, we will be full of grace and truth—like our Lord and Savior.
ACCOUNTABLE TO GOD FOR EVERY WORD
The following verses tell us a sobering truth: we are accountable to God for every word we speak. Here’s what Scripture has to say:
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken (Matthew 12:36).
So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another (Romans 14:12).
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
What does this mean? It means no conversation, no social media comment, no text should be careless. We need to ask for God’s guidance, wisdom, and empowerment so our words please Him and so we will not have to give account for careless words on the Day of Judgment.
Lord, set up a guard for my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.