The recent terrorist acts in Paris have captured the attention of the world and galvanized the resolve of many to fight radical Islamic terrorism with even more fervor. I consider radical Islamic terrorism to be the second biggest problem facing the world today. The first is the need for every human on the planet to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. Everything after that is second by a wide margin. The gospel of Christ is the ONLY solution to our problems.
While many Christians speak loudly about terrorism (and rightly so) they fail to look in the mirror and recognize their own brand of terrorism – blowing up the world around them with their tongue. With all due respect to the victims of terrorism in the USA and around the world, I hope you will ponder the analogy. Some Christians are very good at pointing out the sins of others while failing to hold up the mirror to their own lives. Certainly not all, but in our culture driven by social media and the latest juicy tidbits, far too many are guilty.
James 1:26 states, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” The concept of a worthless religion means that it is not genuine. It is deceptive and hypocritical, and thus in vain. The point is that we can damage the effect of the gospel with the things we say. Our words contradict our beliefs.
Are You Creating Chaos With Your Tongue?
According to Solomon, reckless talk creates chaos. “Irresponsible talk makes a real mess of things…” (Proverbs 13:17) This is true in marriage, with your children, with your friends, and with your work. If I am irresponsible with the things I say and the way I say them, then I am throwing a potential grenade in the middle of all my environments.
What’s more, God says that he despises gossip, sowing discord, and creating divisions among the people we are supposed to love and serve.
Proverbs 6:16-19 “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”
Psalm 101:5 “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy…”
What Creates Chaos?
· Gossip – Few things are more irresponsible than gossip. You can try to couch it in “concern” but gossip destroys relationships. Gossip is rooted in pride and insecurity and is the total opposite of love. People often gossip because they want to hear salacious details about someone else. Sometimes they gossip because they want to feel better about themselves or more superior to someone else. Most of the time gossip is simply designed to hurt the other person.
· Hurtful words – So often we speak words that are meant to cut and hurt. Sometimes this comes from a bitter spirit and other times it comes from our own hurts and hang-ups from our past. Sarcasm can be skillfully used for good sometimes between people. Most of the time, however, it is simply meant to hurt. The Bible tells us that our words should build each other up.
· Words spoken in anger – Many times we hurt the people closest to us by bursting out in anger. Guard your heart and your words so that you do not lose control and damage those you love with your angry words. Something that is spoken in anger can be forgiven, but it takes a long time for that wound to heal.
· Lying – Lying is perhaps the most irresponsible of all the words we speak. The Bible says to speak the truth in love.
· Unguarded words – These are words that are sexually inappropriate. They are not always bad or suggestive words, but words that open up the possibility for an affair. Be careful how you speak to someone you are not married to. Guard your words and guard your heart so you do not have an affair.
· Unforgiving words – We must always remember that no matter what has been done to us, it is nothing compared to what we have done to God. Do not speak unforgiving words, but rather make it a habit to speak some of the sweetest words ever spoken – “I forgive you.”
Have you been guilty of Christian terrorism? The good news is that we have forgiveness and restoration available through Jesus Christ. I hope we all will practice using healing, helpful words today. You will be amazed at the difference it makes.