Home > 365+ Days of Enjoying God, Christianity > Day 10 of Enjoying God: Good Speech

Day 10 of Enjoying God: Good Speech

I’m not talking about being articulate. I’m talking about being careful about what you say about others.

A round of ’bouts. I know.

Perhaps it’s Catholic guilt or fundy guilt or perhaps it’s simply that good ol’ conscience convicting me, but I immediately became aware of how important it is to speak well of others at work today.

There’s a person I work with who is really nice but fails to pull their own weight. (I’m intentionally using mismatched pronouns to avoid gender-specificity. If you have no idea what was wrong in the last sentence, just keep reading; no big deal.) It is common knowledge around the office that this coworker sort of loafs around, doing just enough minimal work to stay employed but not really pitching in to make a serious dent. As a result, some complaints and grumbles are said about this coworker and I found myself saying a really mean joke that elicited a cheap laugh from my other coworkers. Once the words came out of my mouth (I don’t even remember what now), I immediately felt guilty and repented. How is gaining a laugh at someone else’s expense glorifying to God? It doesn’t even matter that my coworkers aren’t Christians: I’ve given them the impression now that if they don’t do their work or have a bad day, I can say something just as mean about them behind their backs.

I suddenly realized the importance of edifying speech: speaking well of others or adhering to that old idiom, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.”

I’m certain that God doesn’t particularly snicker in heaven when I say something mean about someone who has been created in His image. Sure, actions can be criticized but if fair’s going to be fair, that criticism needs to be said in love to that person’s face—it shouldn’t be personality attacks (under the guise of criticism of actions) behind that person’s back. Perhaps that’s why gossip and backbiting are highly frowned upon in the Bible—those things are never said to kindly help point out people’s mistakes. Those things are always done because we’re insecure beings who are always trying to feel better about ourselves.

Philippians 4:8 says:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I would do well—and enjoy God a whole lot more—if I adhered to Paul’s admonition above.

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  1. January 4, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    that is a great verse – i also like the one in Matthew that says we will be held accountable for EVERY WORD that comes out of our mouths.

    yikes.

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