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And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! James 3:10 (NLT)

We may not realize how much our ‘talk’ tells others about our ‘walk’! A friend of mine told me of a job he had in college. While he was very strong in his faith, he wasn’t the type of person to ‘push his beliefs’ on other people. In the course of conversation he was never afraid or ashamed of sharing his faith, but he was rarely the type of person who would start a conversation with his faith. He’d seen too many people get pushed off by the ‘Bible-thumping, religious zealots’.

After three weeks on the job he smashed his finger while trying to dislodge a part from the machine he was operating. As he tells the story, he pulled his hand back and, ‘in his mind’ said a couple words that he probably shouldn’t have said, then shook it off and went back to work.

A couple minutes later a co-worker came up to him. He’d befriended this guy during breaks and always walked away with his ears ringing from the expletives that came from this man’s mouth. It seemed like every other word was a swear word or a cuss word. The man mentioned that he’d been watching my friend during the episode that just happened. He said something like, “You know, I did the same thing last week and swore a blue streak. You didn’t say anything. I got to thinking I’ve never heard a bad word from you. What’s with that?”

My friend shared openly that because of his faith in Jesus Christ he’d made a decision that he would never use language that would embarrass or offend Christ, no matter what the situation. The man was shocked and said, “I’ve known lots of Bible thumpers, but they still swear when things don’t go their way or else they send me on some guilt trip for the way I talk.”

The men went back to work but a friendship had begun. Over the ensuing weeks and months the man’s language became less intense (at least while my friend was around), and he even attended church with my friend a couple times. Several months later he accepted Christ as his personal savior.

Whenever my friend tells this story, he adds how thankful he is that he guarded his mouth that day. Because of that, he was able to bring Jesus to someone else.

Each of us needs to constantly remember that our words speak much louder to others about who we are. The way we react to the crabby clerk in the store, or the ‘inept’ server in the restaurant is a testimony of what Jesus means to us.

James tells us to guard what we say. The same lips that sing praises to God on Sunday should never ridicule or verbally attack others during the week! Guard what you say and how you say it. You never know who may be watching and listening to you.

PRAYER: Father God, I confess to you that it’s way too easy for my lips to slip. Sometimes I say words that are not pleasing to you. Other times I’m critical of others, either to their face or behind their back. I realize now that this isn’t pleasing to you. Forgive me for the struggle I have with words. Empower me through your Spirit to speak gracefully to and about others for your sake. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

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