“Sometimes [the tongue] praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.” [James 3:9-12]

Do you find it easy to get caught up in venting? Same. Do you sometimes think that you’re not gossiping because it’s technically true? Same. Or do you think that the mean things you’re saying are okay because you’re saying them to your mom or to your best friend? Again, same!

But then I read verses like this, and I realize that my being able to justify something in my mind does not make it any more justified to God. He gets to set the standard, not I. So, if that’s the conclusion that I come to, my next realization is that if I want to walk in accordance with the Lord, there has to be a change in the ways that I handle hardship in my life with other people.

Am I speaking life or death?

If I ever find myself in a situation where I am gossiping or something like that, I try to ask myself the question: When I’m talking about this person, am I speaking life or death over them? Because our words have power. So I want to make sure that I am using these words to bring life to people instead of speaking things that disagree with God’s heart for a person. Because truly the last thing that I want to do is distance myself from God’s heart for a child that He loves wholly and completely. I want to be the spring of fresh water that James writes about, not the bitter water!!

So, what do I do when I realize that I am “speaking death” over a person? I want to find ways to speak life and encouragement over them. I ask God His heart for them, and I try to change my way of thinking. I ask God to help me love them in the ways that He does. And I think that helps soften my heart and show them the love and respect that they deserve. It helps me speak the life of God into them!

What if speaking life is hard?

I won’t lie to you. Sometimes we are irritated or angry with people for some pretty legitimate reasons. But God doesn’t want us to live or act out of that bitterness, so what do we do? Well, in Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus explains how to handle these types of conflict. This is my summary: basically go to them one-on-one and address the situation. If it goes well, then great! That’s the end of it. If it doesn’t, bring in a few trusted individuals to help alleviate the situation between both of you.

Basically, when we have an issue with someone, don’t let bitterness rest inside of you and don’t spew bitterness out to those around you about another person. Yes, it can be hard, but there’s reward in aligning ourselves with the Father’s heart!! So, speak life, y’all!!! Ask God what He thinks about a person. Speak truth, live and love over the people around you. It’s worth it.

-Hannah

Pray

Dear Lord. Thank You for allowing us to speak words that have power. I ask that you will help me align my words with truth and life instead of words that speak death over the people around me. Please help me align my heart with Yours, so that I more and more become a fountain that speaks the life that only You can give. I love You. Amen.