For the past month plus, I’ve been going through the book of Proverbs. Can I just get a virtual “Amen!” from anyone who would agree with me that the book of Proverbs is just so, so good?! It is jam packed full of wisdom, something I imagine every single one of us (if we’re willing to admit it) need on a daily, if not momentary basis.
So, in short, I have been loving my journey through its pages. I read one chapter a day, which allows me to finish the whole book one time per month. I’m not sure when I’m going to stop. Honestly, I could do this for the rest of my life and still miss some of the road signs, you know what I mean?
Today, I was playing a bit of catch up because this past week has been insane. No excuses for not being in God’s Word daily, but there you have it: my complete transparency and authenticity. So, I read through Proverbs 4 and 5 today, and I got stuck (in the best way possible) on Proverbs 4:24. I’m going to give it to you in a few different versions, so check it out:
“Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech.” (NLT)
“Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.” (NIV)
“Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.” (ESV)
“Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.”
Ok, so just in case any one of us were lost with the more “difficult to understand” translations, there you have it in The Message, clear as day. Watch your words. They matter. Don’t get caught up in corrupt speech. DON’T GOSSIP.
Why am I sharing this with you today? Well, let’s just start with this. We are living in perhaps THE MOST politically charged time in all of American history. Plus, with social media at our fingertips, opinions and “careless banter” are in excess right now. It will take me under one minute while scrolling through my Facebook feed before I come across gossip, crooked speech, and perverse talk as it relates to the Presidential campaign and its candidates. And for some reason, I’ve noticed that many people (including Christians) feel that because of our candidate options or because for whatever reason we think that passages like this do not apply to politics, our mouths have been running with just about every description of the above kind of speech that we are commanded in Scripture to stay far away from.
Just sit with that for a minute.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we represent Him in all that we do. Unfortunately, what that means is that we often misrepresent Him with our thoughts, words, and actions. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to a higher standard. What the world deems appropriate and acceptable is not the standard by which we are called to live. It’s time we put a harness on our tongues. (Just read through James 3 and everything that has to say about how much damage the tongue can cause).
We all have our opinions, and we should. But there is line between those and Proverbs 4:24. Let’s be wise and not cross it. Let’s represent the God we say we know and love well.