Words Display Who We Are

By Dr. Jack Graham

Our words reveal the true character and the spiritual maturity of our life.

Jesus said, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Further, Jesus said in Matthew 15:17, “Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and what is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness and slander.

As the old timers used to put it, “What’s down in the well will come up in the bucket.” What’s inside will ultimately come out. So our words are just a measurement of our character and of our heart.

If you speak with a harsh tone, it’s because you have an angry heart. If you speak with overactive tongue, it’s because you have an unsettled heart. If you speak with a boastful, prideful tongue, it’s because you have an insecure heart. If you speak with a filthy tongue, it’s because you have an impure heart. If you speak with a critical, negative tongue, it’s because you have a bitter, bitter heart.

But on the other hand, if you speak with an encouraging tongue, it’s because you have a happy heart. If you speak with a compassionate tongue, it’s because you have a loving heart. If you speak with a truthful tongue, it’s because you have an honest hear. Words spoken under the control of the Holy Spirit can bring love and warmth and light—and life!

But take comfort, some of the greatest men in the Bible had problems with their tongues. Job, after hearing the counsel of God, said, “I am vile. I lay my hand over my mouth” (Job 40:4). Isaiah, when he went into the temple and he saw the white-hot glory and greatness and holiness of God, said, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips…” (Isaiah 6:5). Even Moses, who recorded the Ten Commandments, was described in Psalm 106:33 as speaking “rashly with his lips.

But the consummate illustration is Simon Peter. Out of one side of his mouth he’s blessing God. At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus said, “Who do men say that I am?” Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” Jesus said, “Simon Bar-Jonah [Peter], that’s fantastic! I’m going to build My church on words just like that—on that rock of confession. Flesh and blood didn’t reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” And then Jesus started talking about going to the Cross and dying. And the Bible says Peter began to rebuke the Lord and say “Never, Lord! Never!” And Jesus looked at Simon Peter and He said, “Get behind me, Satan.” One minute, Peter is speaking with the words of heaven and the next moment, he’s speaking with words from hell.

As James writes in James 3:11–12, “Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Strange, isn’t it? It’s disturbing. We know that from one side of our mouth comes blessing and from the other comes cursing. How can we be loving, kind and gracious to our loved ones one minute, and the next caustic, cruel, cold and critical? How can we use our tongues to bless God and at the same time, bring people down?

So when we say “ahhh” and ask the Holy Spirit, The Great Physician, to look at our tongue, what does it tell us about our character?

I want to share with you a little acrostic that will help you “T.H.I.N.K.” before you speak.

“T” stands for True. Before you speak and offer criticism of someone’s ideas or behaviors, make sure that what you’re saying is true. Don’t mistake spiritual discernment for mere opinion, innuendo, slander or gossip. Are you addressing a true spiritual issue?

“H” stands for Helpful. Ask yourself if the words you’re offering are helpful. Don’t judge, but seek to build up an individual rather than tear him or her down.

“I” stands for Inspiring. Be uplifting and point others toward what the Scripture says about Christ, His love and restoration.

“N” stands for Necessary. Don’t be a fault-finder over matters of little importance. Ask yourself if it’s really necessary to take action and what’s at stake.

“K” stands for Kind. Be kind and humble in your approach. We’re to get the speck out of our own eye before addressing the faults of others. In other words, get your own life right before attempting to deal with someone else.

We should always ask the Holy Spirit to help us think before we speak, that we would think before we sin.

And then finally, use your tongue to extend the witness of Jesus Christ, to think and speak of Him, to declare your faith in Jesus Christ, to go and to share the Gospel and the love of Christ and the blessing of God and the salvation that we have in Christ.

That’s the way God wants us to use our tongues—transformed by His grace and for His glory.

Dr. Jack Graham serves as Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest and most dynamic churches in the country.

This article was originally published in Visible Faith by Dr. Jack Graham. If you are interested in receiving a free copy of Visible Faith, please contact Jack Raymond at jraymond@prestonwood.org.

Leave a Comment