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Using our words well

Using Our Words Well

 Our words matter. The content of what we say and what we listen to. Words can be used to harm or to build up. The words of a gossip harm both the hearer and the one being talked about. And when there is an offense, words can heal or make matters worse. Using our words well heals rather than harms others.

Bible Reading of the Day: Proverbs 17-18

Gossip is listed among other famous sins that we know we should not commit, and yet Christians can easily be ensnared by it. Our tendency can be to talk, to vent, or to listen to those who do. We want people to be able to empathize with us or vice versa. But being a participant as a hearer bears judgment.

Proverbs 17:4, “A wicked person listens to malicious talk, a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.”

Rather than gossiping, we can choose to cover one another. That does not mean that we do not hold each other accountable, but that we choose to see one another through the eyes of Jesus.

Letting go of offenses helps gossip or slander to die down.

Scripture of the Day

Proverbs 17:9, “Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends.”

The thing about offenses is that in Christ, we aren’t allowed to have them. We have to forgive because we have been forgiven. Why is grace so hard for those who have received grace? Because we resort to a victim mentality and sometimes people don’t apologize like they should. But holding onto unforgiveness hurts us. Don’t be afraid to let go of bitterness and unforgiveness. It does not matter if they deserve it. We don’t either. And God forgave us anyway. But when we gossip or remain offended, we are impeding the work of God in one another’s lives and not about the work of God’s Kingdom.

One of my prayers lately has been that God would make me aware of when I might be offending others. I don’t want to intentionally do so.

Proverbs 17:19, “One who loves to offend loves strife; one who builds a high threshold invites injury.”

That high threshold is a wall. When we offend others or when we are offended, we create walls. God wants us to be reconciled to one another and to Him. To let go of offenses. We bite the bait of offense because of pride, self-righteousness, and hurt.

But there is another way. Here are 4 tips to overcoming offenses and gossip:

  • We can seek to have self-control and restrain ourselves before we speak.

Proverbs 17:27, “The one who has knowledge restrains his words; and one who keeps a cool head is a  person of understanding. 28 Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent—discerning when he seals his lips.”

  • We can seek to understand

“A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions.”

When we care more for the offended than for ourselves, we have the mind and heart of Christ. We care more about  redemption than  getting back. Even when we are “right”

It isn’t about being right, but about God’s glory.

  • We can choose not to participate in gossip.

Proverbs 18:8 “A gossip’s words are like choice food that goes down to one’s innermost being.”

  • Jealousy, anger and hurt are at the root of gossiping. Maybe wanting to get someone back.
  • But all who participate in gossiping will be impacted.
  • We can release judgment and choose grace.

In humility, we cannot judge another and we don’t fully understand.

Proverbs 18:17, “The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.”

  • When someone approaches me to talk about someone else, I examine that person first. Why are they coming to me? It might be legitimate, but why did they not go to the other person?

Proverbs 18:19, “An offended brother is harder to reach than a fortified city.”

Friends,  when someone is offended, go after them – in wisdom. It might be that we need to pray for that person because they cannot hear, but choosing to humble ourselves can win over hearts.

Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the  power of the  tongue  and  those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Application

  • Seek to have self-control before we speak.
  • Seek to understand
  • We can choose not to participate in gossip.
  • And we can release judgment and choose grace.
  • Choose to see others through the eyes of Jesus

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #229: Proverbs 17-18

Scripture of the Day: Proverbs 17:9

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Prov.17

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