Our words reveal what idols lie buried in our hearts. "The people and situations around us do not make us say what we say; they are only the occasion for our hearts to reveal themselves in words." And what do these words say about our hearts? That they are full of selfishness! "Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? ... They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves" (James 4:1-2). It's a root and fruit issue. Our words are the fruit produced by the root of a sinful determination to have our own way.
Other chapters deal with "teaching a new agenda for our talk" beginning "with the fact that God is the King: 'He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything ...' Since God's design is to make us like himself, we must conclude that the relationships we live with are part of the plan. ... Since God is King, we are his agents; and when we speak, we may not speak for ourselves, but rather as a spokesman for the King." This includes family, friends, coworkers, strangers " the irritating telemarketer and the slow clerk at the grocery store!" "Our agenda must match his...and God's agenda is redemption! Redemptive speech buys back a situation from the enemy, turning it around and using it as an opportunity to accomplish the purposes of the King."
This really made me think! There are a number of times when certain words come to mind or out my mouth when I react to a situation in anger or frustration. And how many of us are guilty of talking about situations not realizing how it's our desires, our saving face, our selfishness that makes what someone else did so much more unbearable to us?
And those words "redemptive speech" -- incredible. How often can my words be categorized that way? What a challenge for me today.
Go and speak redemptively!