We live in a country where we insist on our freedom of speech. You can’t tell me what to say or what not to say! I have my rights! I have the right to speak my mind! Sound familiar? It’s our constitutional right. It’s our God given right. Or is it? Do we have the right to speak at the expense of others? Do we have the right to speak even when our words may hurt the person who we are speaking to or about? Do we really have the right?
As a follower of Jesus, we’re quick to avoid murder, stealing, and drunkenness, but we often assassinate other people and leave destruction in our wake by the way we use our tongues. Husbands have stabbed their wives with words that are as sharp as daggers and wives have lashed out with tongues that cut and pierce. Parents have devastated their kids by repeated blasts of venom. Children have exploded at their parents with volleys that have leveled the family like a bomb. Lives have been devastated by wagging tongues that have sliced, diced, and chopped people to shreds.
The world says we do but as a follower of Jesus Christ I would beg to differ. If anyone had rights it was Jesus Christ but the scripture says that when he was persecuted when he was brought to stand trial rather than standing up for his rights and saying he had done nothing wrong, rather than calling ten thousand angels to destroy the world and set him free he “kept silent!” He surrendered his freedom of speech for you and me!
People know what’s in you by what comes out of you! If you claim to be a follower of Christ but the things that you do and the way that you talk doesn’t match that claim then you’re not fooling anyone. I can tell you what’s in your heart by listening to your speech. If you’re gossiping and tearing others down constantly then I know what’s in your heart. How? because Jesus said it’s obvious. A good heart will not produce bad fruit. The tongue has a way of revealing who we really are. It’s impossible to hide it.
As children of God, we must be alert to one of Satan’s chief goals – to bring division to God’s family. Offenses will happen in all relationships, so we must guard ourselves against harboring resentment, and sitting in judgment of one another. We must be especially careful to not fall victim to the devil’s scheme and speak negatively of one another — Christ’s prescription in Matthew 18 must be followed. Before mentioning our concern to anyone else, we must speak first to the one who concerns us.