Speak no Evil

We can be so focused on what we do, we forget that what we say can do much more damage. Yes, it is important that our behavior reflects our Christian moral standards. It is much more important that our speech reflects the same standards. What comes out of our mouth reflects who we are on the inside. Who we are on the inside creates what we do on the outside.

Beloved, “He that would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile; let him turn away from evil and do right; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those that do evil.” Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right? But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.

1st Peter 3.10-22

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “If you say it long enough you begin to believe it.” When we speak evil against another, we reduce the chances we will later show love. How can we love those whom we hate?

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time you know by now that we also understand the life that God desires for us is very often easier said than done. So, today I’m going to offer you a few suggestions to help your tongue avoid evil. It isn’t always easy, and you won’t always succeed, but the effort is what counts.

The first step to not speaking evil is to change the way you think about others. There is a Greek expression, “Καλή λογισμοί” which means, “Good reasonings” about situations and people. If our speaking reflects who we are on the inside, then we must first begin there. We must begin to ALWAYS PRESUME the good intentions of others.

The time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.

John 16.2

Presuming good intentions doesn’t mean we accept the actions as good. It simple is a way for our heart to not immediately jump to evil. People who do evil most often think they are doing good. We don’t have to agree with them to understand this concept, but it helps us not speak evil against them.

The second step to not speaking evil is a matter of mathematics. The more we train our mouth to speak good, the greater our chances of avoiding evil words. This happens mostly through prayer. We fill our mouths with holy words to God as often as we can, and this reduces the chances that evil will find its way out.

Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.

James 3.4-5

When we teach our tongue to speak holy words to God, it will guide our hearts and body also to good. A ship’s rudder fights against the waves to direct the ship. We should use our tongue to fight against the waves of temptation to speak evil. Eventually we will find calmer waters.

The third step, if you really want to take on the fight, is to fast. Our hearts are shaped by our desires. The best way to control our desire is to fast. For this to work, fasting cannot be a matter of following the rules. It only works if we are fasting with a goal to change our desires.

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful.

1st Corinthians 6.12

Don’t say, “I can’t eat that. I’m fasting.” Instead say, “I can eat that. I choose not to eat that to control my desires.” This one really works if you try it. That is why I get so upset when I hear those who don’t fast, use the excuse “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” (Matthew 15.11)

Christ was teaching against Pharisaical fasting, not spiritual fasting. Fasting for the sake of the rules will be of no benefit in changing your desires. Fasting to change your desire, with prayer, will always work to control your tongue.

So, there you have it. Three steps to speaking no evil. They aren’t easy, but they work. You may not be successful every time, but so long as you continue to fight off the waves, you will find calmer waters.

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