A Kiss From Jesus

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

Just one more scripture in the, “What Counts is on the Inside,” sermon series. This one may be the toughest of all for good Christians to hear! As we have studied the words of Jesus and of the Apostle Paul (inspired by Jesus), my prayer is that you have been challenged and touched by these admonitions as much as I have.
 
In this Ephesians scripture, Paul is obviously disappointed with the church Ephesus and their behavior toward each other. Next Sunday, let’s explore how we can counter Paul’s negative adjectives, rotten speech really, at Cason with the power of Christ Jesus in our midst at Cason! Let’s continue to strive to be the Church that Christ has prepared us to be.
 
For now, I’d like to offer to you ten starting points of where that rotten speech leads. I came across this “in your face” list not long ago. In a world that seems to be growing ever more hostile and much less compassionate, we may need a refresher of how “not” to be. Many of these areas are Paul’s plea to the churches. These may be just what we need to jar healthy conversation with the world about how Jesus teaches us how to respond.
 
SOME EXAMPLES OF ROTTEN SPEECH:
You could probably come up with more, but here are 10 examples:
 
1. NAME-CALLING, PUT-DOWNS, & TRADING INSULT FOR INSULT
Often this is done for so-called “humor,” but it does not honor God or build up others. 1 Peter 3:9 says that we should not return insult for insult, but give a blessing instead.

2. INACCURATE LABELING
Lumping people together into one negative group. Labels may be useful in identifying where a person is at on an issue, but they become harmful when we use them too quickly to write off someone because of some association. So be careful! Matthew 7:1-5; John 7:24

3. SARCASM, RIDICULE, MOCKERY
Godly people in the Bible occasionally use sarcasm, ridicule, and mockery against those who are leading people astray. Elijah, for example, mocked the prophets of Baal, 1 Kings 18:27. Jesus ridiculed the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and legalism Matthew. 23. But my experience is that using sarcasm is like righteous anger. It must be carefully controlled or it spills over into sin. Use sarcasm or ridicule to make a point; not to point at someone. Never mock something that a person cannot change, such as a physical feature or a family background issue.

4. BLAMING, EXAGGERATED ATTACKS (one of personal pet peeves)Blaming others came in with “The Fall”, Genesis 1 and 2, and it is a major element in ungodly speech. Often it is coupled with exaggeration, such as, “you always,” or “you never.”

5. GRIPING, COMPLAINING
Those in the world gripe and complain about everything, as you know if you have served in the military. But Christians are to do all things without grumbling or complaining Philippians 2:14, because all complaints are ultimately directed at God. Rather than griping about the difficult people, be a part of the solution or better yet, thank God for them. 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

6. DESTRUCTIVE CRITICISM, DECEPTION, LIES AND MANIPULATION
If your words are not aimed at helping or healing, you are sinning. Proverbs 12:18 says, There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. If your words are manipulative or partially true (it’s still a lie) in order to get your way is a form of deception.

7. ANGRY WORDS, INCLUDING THREATS AND REVENGE
Such words are only trying to dominate or control through fear and intimidation. Whether a parent, a colleague, a preacher, a supervisor, a friend or a Christian; speaking the truth in love, correcting or disciplining must be done calmly with careful thought, not in the heat of anger.
The aim is always to help another, child or adult, grow in godliness. It is sinful to seek revenge or to intimidate. Romans 12:17-21; Ephesians 4:29-32

8. ARGUMENTS WHERE YOU SEEK TO WIN SO AS TO MAINTAIN POWER
Your aim should never be to win the argument, but rather to promote godliness. You’ve got to judge your pride and allow Jesus Christ truly to be Lord of your tongue. 2 Timothy 2:23-25

9. GOSSIP AND SLANDER
Often, gossip and slander spread partial truths mixed with falsehood to make the other person look bad. Sometimes gossip and slander may be true, but is the one you are telling part of the solution of problem? Sometimes it is done under the cover, “I wanted you to know so you could pray…bless their hearts.” Stop it! Matthew 12:36

10. FILTHY TALK AND COARSE JOKES AND PROFANITY
Paul specifically hits this in Ephesians 5:3-4. It includes all dirty jokes and using words for sex, which ought to be sacred, as swear words. And shortcuts for words, count to (OMG). You could probably name of few of your own. (But please don’t say them out loud!)

Leave a Reply

^