“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers (Ephesians 4:29).


If you aren’t from the South, you may not be familiar with the idiom, “Well, shut my mouth!”  It is the equivalent of “You don’t say!” or an expression of surprise. 


I dare say that you, like most of us, have had occasions that you would love to be able to shut someone’s mouth, or even your own.  Once the words have flown outward, it’s impossible to recall them; they are in the unseen air echoing forever.  They may be etched in stone in the mind of the one to whom they were intended and are subject to being repeated again and again by gossip mongers.


“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37).

The Lord knew if we talked too much, we would end up saying hurtful things to and about one another.  He doesn’t want us to be a “motor mouth.” 

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).


An old story relates how a busybody lady in a church disliked the pastor and set out to “run him off.”  She began to tell tales about him and with each telling, embellished them, encouraging her listeners to malign him with others, keeping it running at full speed ahead.  The day came when she had destroyed his influence in the church and community until he was no longer effective and had to resign as pastor.  When the malicious gossip soared, the lady began to realize what she had perpetrated and was conscience stricken.  She went to the pastor and apologized for her misdeeds, seeking his forgiveness.


He asked her to accompany him outside the church.  He stood on the top step, opened a feather pillow and shook the feathers into the wind.  As they were scattering over the church yard, he asked her to please gather the feathers so he could stuff them back into the casing.  Astonished, she told him that would be impossible.  The pastor shared with her that the “feathers” of gossip that she had tossed out about him had “scattered to the wind” and were impossible to retrieve.  He forgave her, but the damage she had done was irreparable.

“Blessed are the peacemakers:  for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Gossip and tale-bearing are evil concoctions of the devil!  He likes nothing better than to slay a Christian without firing a shot; just infusing someone with the poison of malice against another and equipping them with his fiery darts to inflict serious wounds.  ‘Self’ is always behind gossip.

“Carrying tales is self-glorifying and self destructive.”  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger)

I have written this in other articles, but it bears repeating:  The church is the only army that kills its wounded.  “The church” being and including all born-again, blood-bought Christians world wide.  On the battlefields of every war, there have been stories of heroic efforts by soldiers to rescue their fellow comrades; sometimes risking their own lives even to recover the bodies already killed in battle.  Sadly, often in spiritual battles, our wounded have lain on the battlefield seriously wounded and left to die alone.   One who is wounded, drowning and needing to be rescued, may have a foot on his head keeping his head under water until he expires.


The little rhyme we said as children is misleading.  “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never kill me.”  That is nothing more than a defense mechanism to cover pain!  Of course names hurt, because they are backed up by ill intentions and meant to be hurtful.  Someone thoughtfully said that “Many a man’s tongue broke his nose.”  That’s true, but even more true is that it can break our relationship with God and His family and damage our witness.


It is time for Christians to burn the “sticks” and toss the “stones” in the pond where they are not longer accessible!  How in the world can we win a world dying for the want of someone to tell them about the Love of God when we are “stick-and-stoning” each other?  How can the person frustrating us hear God’s voice if we keep interrupting Him?  It’s difficult to listen to different voices at the same time, especially when they are opposed to one another.  When we are shaking the secret feathers of another in the wind, never able to gather then again, we are disavowing that God loves them.  When we publish a verbal tabloid about our brothers and sisters, we are exposing our own sin!  Oh, we don’t want to hear that!

"To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men" (Titus 3:2).


Gossip-mongers use the excuse, “I am just telling the truth and they deserve whatever results come from it.”  What if the Lord revealed the truth about us; what is in our hearts, our intents?  We would plead with Him to keep the secret between us and him.  Have we forgotten that the Bible warns us that our sins will be exposed for all the world to see?  God is hiding our secrets now; when we repent and change He tosses them into the Forgetful Sea; but failure to repent and the continuance of them will ring throughout eternity.


“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Romans 2:16).

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:13).


Instead of using this wonderful organ, that God gave us called the 'mouth,' to hurt, let it be used for damage control, helping others to recover from the wounds of the fiery darts.  Let it be used for the commission that Jesus gave His disciples just before He left:  “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).  You say, “But I am not a preacher.”  You really are more than you know.

We consider the letters to be sermons that Paul wrote to the churches (which make up most of our New Testament).  They have been repeated millions of times from pulpits as sermons.  With that in mind, Paul wrote the Corinthian church, “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men” (2 Corinthians 3:2).  Did you get that?  Not just our words, but we, ourselves, are epistles known of others!  The very life we live is a letter (sermon) to the world.  Our words are shallow and hollow if they are not backed up by our “epistle” (right actions).

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).


We need to shut up—to listen. We have to shut up—to allow silence to speak.  Look in the mirror and notice that we have two ears and only one mouth.  Does that mean we should listen twice as much as we speak?  Our ears are the entrance to our mind.  We need to have a processor between our ears and our minds that will automatically shut the mind’s door and hear “reject, reject” the things that are not “honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, having virtue and are praise worthy” (Philippians 4:8).  As Christians, the Processor is the Word of God, activated by the Holy Spirit.  This procedure should be always in operation before we allow anything to enter our mind or comment on it.  Instead of quick decisions, take time to process everything that is on the road to the mind, filtering it through Philippians 4:8.  If necessary, get counsel from a godly person when in doubt.


“Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

God’s voice will be clearer when it doesn’t have to wade through entanglements of a cluttered mind.  We need to be careful that we don’t drown out God’s voice—or the voice He has sent to cause us to shut up and listen, consider and judge it by His Word.

“For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist” (Luke 21:15).


Gossipers are avid listeners.  The hinge that opens and closes their mouth has been well lubricated to shut securely and keep quiet while listening and to open freely to repeat what their eager ears have heard.  Let us use that hinge to shut our mouths to protect us from becoming an “open sepulcher filled with poison.”

“Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps under their lips” (Romans 3:13).


Of course, there is a time to shut up and a time to speak.  When God is speaking through His Word or one of His servants, it is time to shut up and listen.   How can we tell when it’s time to speak?  The criterion is found in Ephesians 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love [emphasis mine], may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”  And we do know in our hearts if we truly are speaking the truth “in love” or in malice.  Let us not kid ourselves and justify speaking when it is not “in love.”  The results will be determined by the motivation.


“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor” (Ephesians 5:2).

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another…” (1 Thessalonians 3:12).

“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13).


Are you still reading?  Then, like me, you probably see the need to use caution when things are about to enter our ears which will end up in our mind and eventually in our hearts which will lead to actions.  We need to allow God to sanctify (set apart for His service) our ears and mouth to honor Him.  James said (James 1) an unbridled tongue deceives our own heart and our religion is in vain (empty, worthless).   Pretty strong words!  Makes us cry like Paul did, “O wretched man [woman] that I am!”  But he knew who his deliverer was.  His total trust in God was based on his relationship with Jesus Christ.


Since you are still with me, I’ll release my confession.  While it might seem like I am pointing a finger at my readers, bear in mind that a forefinger pointed toward anyone else has three pointed back at me!  While “I have come a long way,” I have a ways yet to go; but I’ll make it, because God is still working on me!


Speak, Lord.  Help me to listen!  Let me be a promoter of Your "myspace" telling the world that you love them and want them to love one another!


“My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever” (Psalm 145:21).

Let these words rule our lives.  Amen!




The Tongue

“The boneless tongue, so small and weak,

Can crush and kill, “declared the Greek.

“The tongue destroys a greater horde,”

The Turk asserts, “than does the sword.”

The Persian proverb wisely saith

“A lengthy tongue—an early death.”

Or sometimes takes this form instead,

“Don’t let your tongue cut off your head.”

“The tongue can speak a word whose speed,”

Says the Chinese, “outstrips the steed.”

While sages this great fact impart,

“The tongue’s great storehouse is the heart.”

From Hebrew writ the maxim sprung,

“Tho’ feet should slip, ne’er let the tongue.”

The sacred writer crowns the whole,

“Who keeps his tongue doth keep his soul.”

…..Author Unknown to me


In the Garden

(Music playing)

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.


And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.


 © There's Good News September 2007

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