“The tongue of the just is as choice silver:
the heart of the wicked is little worth.” Proverbs 10:20.
Christ’s Object Lessons, 335–339; The Review and Herald, June 12, 1888.
“If we are pure in heart, our words will be
pure, our actions will be holy.” The Youth’s Instructor, January 9, 1896.
1 A POWERFUL INFLUENCE
a. What do
our habits of speech reveal about our true character? Proverbs
b. How may
we be grieving the Holy Spirit and jeopardizing our faith by careless speech?
Matthew 12:36, 37.
Note: “Closely connected with Christ’s
warning in regard to the sin against the Holy Spirit is a warning against idle
and evil words. The words are an indication of that which is in the heart. ‘Out
of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh’
[Luke 6:45 ]. But the words are more than an
indication of character; they have power to react on the character. Men are
influenced by their own words. Often under a momentary impulse, prompted by
Satan, they give utterance to jealousy or evil surmising, expressing that which
they do not really believe; but the expression reacts on the thoughts. They are
deceived by their words, and come to believe that true which was spoken at Satan’s
instigation. Having once expressed an opinion or decision, they are often too
proud to retract it, and try to prove themselves in the right, until they come
to believe that they are. It is dangerous to utter a word of doubt, dangerous
to question and criticize divine light. The habit of careless and irreverent
criticism reacts upon the character, in fostering irreverence and unbelief.
Many a man indulging this habit has gone on unconscious of danger, until he was
ready to criticize and reject the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, ‘Every
idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of
judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified,
and by thy words thou shalt be condemned’ [Matthew
12:36, 37].” The Desire
of Ages, 323.
2 FALSE WITNESS
a. What suffering comes from lies? Proverbs 12:20; 20:17.
Note: “Parents and teachers, be true to God. Let your life be free from deceitful
practices. Let no guile be found in your lips. However disagreeable it may be
to you at the time, let your ways, your words, and
your works show uprightness in the sight of a holy God. Oh, the effect of the
first lesson in deceit is terrible! Shall any who claim to be sons and
daughters of God give themselves up to deceitful practices and lying?
“Never let your children have the semblance
of an excuse for saying, Mother does not tell the
truth. Father does not tell the truth. When you are tried in the heavenly
courts, shall the record be made against your name, A
deceiver? Shall your offspring be perverted by the example of those who ought
to guide them in the way of truth? Instead of this, shall not the converting
power of God enter the hearts of mothers and fathers? Shall not the Holy Spirit
of God be allowed to make its mark upon their children?” Child Guidance, 150.
b. What must we recognize about gossip?
Proverbs 10:18; 11:12, 13; 20:3.
Note: “Floating rumors are frequently the
destroyers of unity among brethren. There are some who watch with open mind and
ears to catch flying scandal. They gather up little incidents which may be
trifling in themselves, but which are repeated and exaggerated until a man is
made an offender for a word. Their motto seems to be, ‘Report, and we will
report it.’ These tale-bearers are doing the devil’s work with surprising
fidelity, little knowing how offensive their course is to God. If they would
spend half the energy and zeal that is given to this unholy work in examining
their own hearts, they would find so much to do to cleanse their souls from
impurity that they would have no time or disposition to criticize their
brethren, and they would not fall under the power of this temptation. The door
of the mind should be closed against ‘they say’ or ‘I have heard.’ Why should
we not, instead of allowing jealousy or evil surmising to come into our hearts,
go to our brethren, and, after frankly but kindly setting before them the
things we have heard detrimental to their character and influence, pray with
and for them?” The Review and Herald,
June 3, 1884.
a. How do
wrong attitudes tend to spread? Proverbs 17:20. What warnings are we given
about this? Hebrews 12:14, 15.
Note: “I beseech all who engage in the work
of murmuring and complaining because something has been said or done that does
not suit them, and that does not, as they think, give them due consideration,
to remember that they are carrying on the very work begun in heaven by Satan.
They are following in his track, sowing unbelief, discord, and disloyalty; for
no one can entertain feelings of disaffection, and keep them to himself. He
must tell others that he is not treated as he should be. Thus they are led to
murmur and complain. This is the root of bitterness springing up, whereby many
are defiled.” The Review and Herald,
September 14, 1897.
general guidance does the Bible give concerning speech? Proverbs 10:19; 17:27,
28; Ecclesiastes 5:2.
Note: “Too often, fretful, impatient words
are spoken, words which stir the worst passions of the human heart. Such ones
need the abiding presence of Christ in the soul. Only in His strength can they
keep guard over the words and actions.” Our High Calling, 161.
we desire to see the King in His beauty we must here behave worthily. We must
outgrow our childishness. When provocation comes let us be
silent. There are times when silence is eloquence.” Maranatha, 327.
Christian can not always be in the position of
prayer, but his thoughts and desires can always be upward. Our self-confidence
would vanish, did we talk less and pray more.” The Youth’s Instructor, March 5, 1903.
c. What makes our speech refreshing to
others? Proverbs 16:24; 27:2.
Note: “When we can associate together to help
one another heavenward, when the conversation is upon divine and heavenly
things, then it amounts to something to talk; but when the conversation centers
upon self and upon earthly and unimportant matters, silence is golden.” Sons and Daughters of God, 166.
4 THE SOURCE OF OUR WORDS
a. What is the real source of our words?
Note: “Our minds take the level of the things
on which our thoughts dwell, and if we think upon earthly things, we shall fail
to take the impress of that which is heavenly. We would be greatly benefited by
contemplating the mercy, goodness, and love of God; but we sustain great loss
by dwelling upon those things which are earthly and temporal.” The Faith I Live By, 222.
b. What is the key to improving our
speech? Proverbs 10:20; 25:11, 12.
Note: “As God works upon the heart by his
Holy Spirit, man must co-operate with him. The thoughts must be bound about,
restricted, withdrawn from branching out and contemplating things that will
only weaken and defile the soul. The thoughts must be pure,
the meditations of the heart must be clean, if the words of the mouth are to be
words acceptable to Heaven, and helpful to your associates.” The Review and Herald, June 12, 1888.
c. How is moral backbone formed? Proverbs
12:5; 21:5; 20:11.
Note: “Your thoughts must be brought into
subjection to the will of God and your feelings under the control of reason and
religion. Your imagination was not given you to be allowed to run riot and have
its own way without any effort at restraint or discipline. If the thoughts are
wrong the feelings will be wrong, and the thoughts and feelings combined make
up the moral character.” Testimonies,
vol. 5, 310.
thoughts are to be strictly guarded; for one impure thought makes a deep
impression on the soul. An evil thought leaves an evil impress on the mind. If
the thoughts are pure and holy, the man is better for having cherished them. By
them the spiritual pulse is quickened, and the power for doing good is increased. And as one drop of rain
prepares the way for another in moistening the earth, so one good thought prepares
the way for another.” The Faith I
Live By, 222.
5 MENTAL RESTRAINT AND COMMITMENT
a. How do
the apostles confirm the idea of tightening the reins of the mind for God? I
Peter 1:13–16; II Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:8.
Note: “The noble powers of the mind have been
given to us by the Lord, that we may employ them in
contemplating heavenly things … and yet how often the mind is given to the
contemplation of that which is earthly, sensual, and base! We give our time and
thought to the trivial and commonplace things of the world, and neglect the
great interests that pertain to eternal life. The noble powers of the mind are
dwarfed and enfeebled by lack of exercise on themes that are worthy of their
every one who desires to be a partaker of the divine
nature, appreciate the fact that he must escape the corruption that is in the
world through lust. There must be a constant, earnest struggling of the soul
against the evil imaginings of the mind. There must be a steadfast resistance
of temptation to sin in thought or act.” The
Review and Herald, June 12, 1888.
b. How can we tone up our mental powers?
Proverbs 16:1–3; Colossians 3:1–3.
Note: “By beholding we are to become changed,
and as we meditate upon the perfections of our divine Model, we shall desire to
become wholly transformed and renewed in the image of his purity. There will be
a hungering and thirsting of soul to be made like Him whom we adore. The more
our thoughts are upon Christ, the more we shall speak of him to others, and
represent him to the world.” The Review
and Herald, June 12, 1888.
and Thought Questions
do words often leave their strongest influence?
is our duty with regard to gossip?
does a root of bitterness grow like a weed?
can we better carry out the words of Romans 14:19?
deep wisdom can we gain from Proverbs 16:1–3?