Daily Thought - "words Matter – Integrity Part One"

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. “You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one. – Matthew 5: 33-37 (NLT)

    As we close out another contentious political season, what better topic to tackle than integrity and what better starting point than to deal with the integrity of our words. As we watch the candidates barnstorm through the same five states that always decide our presidential elections, we listen to things that cannot possibly be true being used as the basis for promises we know will never be kept. The sad reality is that I think the vast majority of Americans have accepted by this point that honesty and integrity are not coming back to our political landscape anytime soon. As Christians however, our words most definitely matter. The certainly matter to God:

    A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” – Matthew 12: 35-37 (NLT)

    This does not seem to me like God is playing around. I hold verse 36 close to my heart when I see injustice in the church because if God is going to hold us to account for every careless word, you know He will have people answer for their deeds as well. Look at the severity of the language used by Jesus here. Our words beloved will either acquit us or condemn us! Do we use our words to build up the body of Christ or to tear it down? Do we use our words to represent Christ or some man made political agenda? What about our Facebook posts and tweets? Are they filled with things we would never say in church, when we are playing the role of Christian? I have seen the most carnal, worldly, and decidedly unchristian postings from Christians on Facebook. Do we stop to realize who sees that? How many believers are on your friends list? How many unbelievers? Do your words glorify Jesus or represent the spirit of antichrist in this world? Do your words acquit you or condemn you? I want my unsaved friends to see Jesus. Words matter. Yet we see Christians every day with seemingly no concern about disguising gossip as prayer, slandering fellow Christians and even pastors, or lying in the name of the Lord. Job addressed this:

    “Are you defending God with lies? Do you make your dishonest arguments for his sake?Will you slant your testimony in his favor? Will you argue God’s case for him?What will happen when he finds out what you are doing? Can you fool him as easily as you fool people?No, you will be in trouble with him if you secretly slant your testimony in his favor.Doesn’t his majesty terrify you? Doesn’t your fear of him overwhelm you?Your platitudes are as valuable as ashes. Your defense is as fragile as a clay pot. – Job 13: 7-12 (NLT)

    Powerful, powerful verses. God doesn’t need us to lie on His behalf. He does not need us to pretend that our own carnality has anything to do with Him. People spend too much time trying to convince themselves that God is on their side instead of realizing we need to be on His. God is not interested in our platitudes. We can sound as holy as we want to be in trying to defend our words – God is not impressed because He knows our heart.

    Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. – 1Corinthians 4: 5 (NLT)

    Let’s take a look at a story from the Bible that highlights the importance of one’s word and how importantly God views it. We go back for this story to when Joshua had first taken over the lead of Israel. They had successfully defeated Jericho and the land of Ai. Word began to spread about these Israelites and the God they served that assured them victory. Many tried to war with Israel but not Gibeon:

    However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.” – Joshua 9: 3-6 (NLT)

    The Gibeonites were shrewd and Joshua inspected their supplies to confirm their story but the Bible says he did not inquire of the Lord. The Gibeonites paid lip service to the God of Israel but were not sincere. We see a lot of that today as well; as false religions contain a version of Christ they can pawn off as being legitimate but in reality they simply do not believe what we believe. God does not tell us to merely accept what someone says. But Joshua did that day and now he found himself under oath with a neighbor he was supposed to eliminate. But he had given his word…

    For close to 500 years that oath stood. It lasted throughout the entire period of time of the Judges of Israel. No leader would dare break it because it was a word given which must be kept. Until we get to King Saul. The Bible says that in his zeal, Saul tried to annihilate the Gibeonites and because of this, God visited a three year famine upon the land of Israel until King David atoned for the sin of Saul in breaking the oath made by Joshua! That is how seriously God takes our words!

    That brings us to our key verses for today. Jesus teaching the Sermon on the Mount, dealing with the subject of our word and taking oaths. As always, Jesus raises the standard we must live by as Christians even higher. We are not to swear by heaven, earth or even ourselves. If we say what we mean and mean what we say, the only thing we need to utter is YES or NO. What is interesting in the key verses is the indication that anything beyond the yes and no, is actually from Satan. It is Satan speaking into our pride that makes us think we can run off at the mouth without consequence. As Christians we are held to a higher account. We are supposed to be an honest light in a dishonest and dark world. Our speech is supposed to be flavorful salt, preserving truth and integrity amidst a world that speaks corrosive acid. When the world speaks behind the backs of each other, we are supposed to show a better way. God help us if by our speech no one could tell us apart from the world. God help us if our tweets and Facebook posts are no more glorifying to God than those who do not even know Him. God let us start to rebuild our integrity with our mouths. The tongue is filled with lethal poison. Let us tame it now or stand and be held to account for every careless word later.

    Words matter.

    Rev. Anthony
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