Do not let unwholesome [foul, profane, worthless, vulgar] words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak]. Ephesians 4:29 AMP
It gets old fast–living with people who have a mouth they can’t (or won’t) try to control.
I lived for many years with very angry people who felt entitled to vent that anger, on any and everyone, they chose.
(Talk about wearying!)
Yet, the Bible makes it very clear.
Anger is contagious. It can spread through a group, or organization, family, or church (?) like an unchecked cancer.
I’ve seen it happen.
It happened in my family.
I’ve seen this happen in companies I’ve worked for.
And, worst of all, I’ve seen what happens when angry, aggressive bullies move into the leadership of churches.
It was heartbreaking to watch.
It ended in ruin.
Satan must have celebrated with a party that day.
Head-butting the sheep
There is a passage in Ezekiel that I believe makes it very clear how God feels about bullying in the Church:
When the Sheep Get Scattered
God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherd-leaders of Israel. Yes, prophesy! Tell those shepherds, ‘God, the Master, says: Doom to you shepherds of Israel, feeding your own mouths! Aren’t shepherds supposed to feed sheep? You drink the milk, you make clothes from the wool, you roast the lambs, but you don’t feed the sheep. You don’t build up the weak ones, don’t heal the sick, don’t doctor the injured, don’t go after the strays, don’t look for the lost. You bully and badger them. And now they’re scattered every which way because there was no shepherd—scattered and easy pickings for wolves and coyotes. Scattered—my sheep!—exposed and vulnerable across mountains and hills. My sheep scattered all over the world, and no one out looking for them!
When a bully rules the sheep get scattered!
Families, companies, churches, it makes no difference.
Anger destroys unity.
I love Moses, but let’s not ignore this truth. Moses had a bad, BAD, temper.
And, ultimately? It was his downfall.
Remember when He killed the Egyptian who wouldn’t listen to him?
God didn’t take him out.
He gave him a sentence of forty years in the wilderness herding sheep.
Did he learn to control that temper of his?
When God told him to bring water out of the rock again, in anger and frustration, Moses struck the rock, and God, (who apparently had had enough of his temper tantrums,) banished him from entering the Promised Land.
(Important to remember: God has a temper, too!)
Red Sea Rule #2
All of this brings us to Red Sea Rule #2:
There are so many verses in the Bible pertaining to our speech, I think God must think this daily issue is REAL important.
- For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. James 1:20 KJV
- Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Proverbs 4:23 MSG
- I do admit that I have fears that when I come you’ll disappoint me and I’ll disappoint you, and in frustration with each other everything will fall to pieces—quarrels, jealousy, flaring tempers, taking sides, angry words, vicious rumors, swelled heads, and general bedlam. I don’t look forward to a second humiliation by God among you, compounded by hot tears over that crowd that keeps sinning over and over in the same old ways, who refuse to turn away from the pigsty of evil, sexual disorder, and indecency in which they wallow. 2 Corinthians 12:20-21 MSG
- In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Titus 2:7-8 KJV
When I say, “Stuff it!” I mean, stuff your HEART, with wisdom that comes from God’s Word, not the World!
Words filled with kindness, encouragement, and grace for others, not entitlement for yourself.
Words seasoned with lots, and LOTS, of GRACE!
Triggers and Mouthing Off
I learned this habit this “mouthing off” habit from my earliest childhood while watching my parents fight. Anger was common, ordinary, and acceptable in our house.
See that first verse in the above list?
God used that verse on me every single time I lost my temper after becoming a returned prodigal.
God wasn’t content with half-hearted following.
That word “returned” in the Hebrew is the word teshuvah.
It is a word picture of turning around; changing directions; changing one’s mind, and behavior.
Repentance, in the New Testament, is it’s equivalent.
CHOOSE YOUR WORDS
One of the fruits of the Spirit indwelling in us is: SELF CONTROL.
Kindness, gentleness, and love in our speech, are not merely suggestions God gives us. They are the tangible evidence of our love of God, and His rulership, in our lives.
God freely acknowledges we get angry.
BUT, He allows anger only over sin and unrighteousness.
And that anger, must always be tempered, with the Spirit’s ruling control.
God is always listening. Recording every word we say. Selah?
You belong to the King of Kings.
Stuff your heart with His Truth.
It is the new day.
Shine His Light for all to see, and hear!