You know that little rhyme, sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me?
That is absolutely wrong. The fact of the matter is words can literally kill your soul. There is life and death in the power of words. We want to talk about how to deal with those wounds that you receive and how to stop them from coming out of your mouth and mind.
That's today. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. I'm Dave Gruhey, and in just a minute, Chip will continue with the second half of his message, Why We Wound Others with Our Words.
In this series, five lies that ruin relationships were in the book of James. That's Chip's been helping us identify the common lies that threaten to destroy our relationships. So if you missed any part of Chip's teaching along the way, catch up anytime at livingontheedge.org or by listening on the Chip Ingram app. Well, with that, here's Chip with today's talk. Let me give you a word picture because we're going to look at something. I think this can be one of the most radical little portions of scripture to change you and change me because what's the scripture say?
If you can ever get a hold of your tongue, man, it'll impact your entire life. Imagine, if you will, five or six little eight or nine year olds, okay? I lived in California where there was a big reservoir and you could drive over the highway and a big beautiful reservoir that's manmade and you could put sailboats on it and these little kids go down. They live near the water and they all run down and they're playing with them.
They make these little tiny boats and they blow on them and they have all kind of fun. And one of the kids says, hey, look at this. And he comes down and he finds a little valve and he doesn't know what it is. And you know how kids are.
Well, let's try it. And so it's old and kind of rusty and they get a stick and they get it. And when they just barely open it, and when they barely open it, these little pink bubbles come out and it's like, ooh, wow. And so they all get all these little pink bubbles start coming out and then a little ooze goes into the lake and it's like, ooh, this is so special. This is so neat, you know. And they smell it and it has kind of a weird smell and actually they get just a slight buzz for an eight year old.
Whoa, I don't know what's going on here. So they do that and that becomes kind of like, this is cool. And they become kind of like the pink bubble gang. And so they all go down, hey, what do you want to do? And every time they go down, then one of them, it's a secret, it's a secret club.
And the little pink bubbles come out and little oozes into the lake and they don't think about it, but it's really neat. And then when they leave, they put it back and go. And then they're sitting around the kitchen table. They're only eight or nine years old.
And this has happened for several months now. And the parents, you know how parents talk around the supper table. That's parents that actually sit at a supper table with their kids.
Great idea. And as they're sitting around the supper table, they're talking about the fish are dying in the lake. And we have a number of kids that are getting really, really sick. And authorities don't know what's happening.
They suspect there might be something in the water system. Now to these kids, these pink little bubbles, they're just having fun. I mean, they're not trying to hurt anybody. They're just having fun. They look kind of cool. They smell kind of good. It's just neat. They actually get a little sense, a little buzz, a little reward, a little kind of fun from it.
They have no idea that what they're doing is opening a valve of a company that was shut down 45 years ago that is pouring toxins into the water. And I think that's the average Christian. I think the average Christian talks down, criticizes, and even slanders in very sophisticated Christian prayer request type ways.
And they're like little pink bubbles where we get a little shot from them and feel important because we get information and actually convince ourselves that they're really, these things are shared really to build up and help one another. And what we're doing is we're putting spiritual toxins into the water system of the body of Christ. And if you think I'm overplaying this, let's do some investigation on this passage now. Why is tearing others down by our speech and judgmental attitudes, are you ready for this, one of the most serious sins mentioned in scripture?
Underline that, will you? One of the most serious sins. I mean, you know, we think it's adultery, it's murder, those are big. I'm telling you from God's perspective, speaking down, slandering, leaving people in a negative light is one of the most serious sins in all of scripture. And then he's gonna give us two reasons. Reason number one, because it demonstrates total disregard and contempt for God's highest command to love one another.
You say, well, where do you get that? Look what the text says. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you're not keeping it, but you're sitting in judgment on it. When we speak against or tear down or criticize or defame or gossip about someone else, what we do is we put ourselves in the role of judge. In other words, this is the facts. To be a judge, you really need to know all the facts, all the circumstances, people's motives, their hearts, what came before, what all the situations and circumstances could be, and then based on all the knowledge and them and the other parties, you make a judgment.
Who's the only person that knows everything about everything? God. He says when you speak and tear down people, the only way you can tear them down and slander them is you have to step back, look at the situation, make yourself the judge, the evaluator, the righteous one, the all-knowing one, and you communicate this as this is the way it is. He says when you do that, you speak not only against the person, you speak against the law. When you judge the law, he says instead of you keeping it and you doing what God wants you to do and me doing what God wants me to do, you're sitting in judgment on it. Now say to yourself, aren't there some times where we're supposed to judge yet?
Romans 13, civil authorities are to judge in civil matters. Aren't there times where we should judge? Yes. 1 Corinthians 5 and 6, there are times the church has authority to judge in doing church discipline. Well, aren't there times where there's a problem and I need to address it?
Yes. Matthew 18, I need to judge not in judging the person's motives or what he's doing, but if I see someone who is sinning, my role is not to tell anyone else. What's Matthew 18 say?
I go to the person personally. There's a novel thought in the church. Instead of telling someone else or calling someone else or emailing someone else, I go to the person in an attitude of love and say, I observe this.
I don't have all the facts. I'm concerned that your life and scripture aren't lining up and knowing how much God loves you and knowing the reputation of Christ is at stake, I'm obeying Matthew 18, 15 to come to you in love. And if he doesn't respond, you go back with the witness, right? If he doesn't respond to the witness, you take it to the leaders of the church and there's a real clear way to handle that. So there is a role for judging, but what this is talking about is this is fault finding, condemning and judgment that condemns another as wrong in God's sight.
This is judging another person's motives with the goal of lowering how people look at this person by what comes out of your mouth or what comes out of my mouth. And what's the royal law? In James 2, 8, he talks about the royal law. In Leviticus 19, we know the royal law.
The royal law is what? To love one another. To love one another. The second reason is tied very closely to it.
The second reason is because it reveals that we are in fact playing God. You say, wow, now that is serious. You mean when I just sort of gossip and say negative things about person as I'm driving home from church, you mean that around the water cooler when I come out of a meeting with the boss and I say negative, critical, harsh, difficult things, do you? Yes. It means you're playing God.
You say, where do you get that? Look at the text. There is only one lawgiver and judge and one who is able to save and destroy, but you, emphatic position, singular, who are you to judge your neighbor? And he purposely brings that word neighbor in because the royal law love your neighbor as yourself. We are usurping God's authority in his unique role as judge, as lawgiver when we speak against someone else.
To judge fairly, we must have comprehensive knowledge, know all the motives, all the facts, all the circumstances that led to the action and the behavior that we're critical of and only God knows that. When I begin to grasp how serious this was, I have begun to pray, oh God, will you begin to filter what comes out of my mouth? In fact, would you begin to stop things in my mind before they just unconsciously roll off my tongue? Because when I just make a little innuendo, when I use a tone of voice, when I say something that's quote just my opinion but I don't know the facts and when I get done and someone thinks less of another person, when I've caused their status and their esteem and their value to go down, I am kata against tearing down speaking against them. And James says, stop it.
You don't think it's a big deal but it's like those pink bubbles going into the water system and it's toxic and reason number one is very, very clear is that when the world is asking is indeed Jesus the Son of God, Jesus said the evidence will be what? The way we love one another and when you go to a small group meeting and you invite a friend and you're in the car and that friend hears you talk about someone else or the small group leader in a way that puts them in a negative light, I mean they're a lost person or they're a brand new Christian, what are they thinking? If that's the way you talk about the small group leader, someday, someway, someday you'll do that to me, right?
Why would I want to be a part of this group? We become the judge. That's God's role.
We violate the most and highest important commandment is to love one another when this comes out of our mouth. The two most common areas I find that this happens in the church is number one, the rumor mill and number two, gray areas. I don't know any organization that you can share something with one person within three days and if you want to make sure everybody hears about it, don't tell anyone. It's just highly confidential. I mean those prayer chains, there's times I'm thinking for the real genuine good that the prayers do versus how much gossip goes over the lines, there's times I'm thinking maybe we ought to just shut some of those down. The second area I see is not only the rumor mill when we pass on, by the way, gossip is passing on untested truth. If you don't know it's 100% true, don't pass it on and by the way, we'll learn later, don't receive it.
The other is there are gray areas, aren't there? Romans 14, we come from different backgrounds. I was sitting with a guy who actually, it comes from a family background and they make a certain product that in this country many Christians think is not a good product and he says, you know, it's kind of weird because obviously this product needs to be done in moderation et cetera but I was at this large church's denomination in Germany and actually they serve this product to all the leaders and to everyone because, you know, in Germany that's not the problem.
In Germany he was saying, but boy, if any of the ladies had an earring, man, I mean they were just unspiritual. So we have our backgrounds where certain groups think certain things about you worship on this day or you worship on that day or you can drink or you can't drink, you can drink in moderation but never drink this way. You can watch this but don't watch that.
You know, you can play cards but only if the back of the cards doesn't have a picture on them. You can, I mean, you know, all of our groups don't we have a zillion things? You know, some groups have the dirty dozen, the negative six, the top ten and, you know, we, and Romans 14 says if it doesn't violate scripture then let each man be judged according, lived by faith and let that person give an account to God and I don't mean we shouldn't have convictions. I have very clear convictions on a lot of gray areas. I have learned and have come to determine there are certain things that I will do and certain things I will not do that are gray.
I mean I don't have any commands but those are my personal convictions but what I've had to learn is other people who love God more than me may have different convictions and if I disagree with those and start talking down about them to other people I've violated the royal law of love number one and number two I've judged them and God says in Romans 14 who are you to judge the servant of another? Well let's get to the solution side. How do we break the habit of playing God?
How do we get out of this? It's very clear, very simple but it's going to take a real strong conviction from your heart to get there. How do we break the habit of playing God? Step number one, develop convictions about speaking against others. Write the word convictions. I don't mean beliefs. I don't mean intentions.
I don't mean I'm going to really try harder. Develop convictions. A conviction is something that's deep in your heart and deep in your soul and you say of all the issues in my life you have convictions I pray about lying. You have convictions about purity. You have convictions about how you're going to raise your kids. Develop convictions about speaking against others. Matthew 7 one and two says do not judge or you too will be judged for in the same way you judge others you will be judged and with the measure or literally the basket or the scoop, the size of container that you use it will be measured to you. Now this isn't talking about legitimate judging of a church. This isn't about the judging of the civil authorities.
This isn't about confronting someone. This is about the kind of judgments where you don't have all the facts and you make assumptions and you judge them in your heart. But I tell you look at Matthew 12 verses 36 to 37. I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word that they have spoken for by your word you will be acquitted and by your word you will be condemned. I remember memorizing that verse and I got scared. I memorized it in a little bit different version and it goes something like this where it says you know but I tell you every careless word that men shall speak they shall render account for it in the day of judgment for by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned. Every careless word and all of a sudden the light started to come on. Ingram I'll tell you what you think there's these like big big sins and this is just a this is huge.
This is huge. I'm going to stand before God. You're going to stand before God and the careless little words that put people down that tear them down that are sarcastic that begin to make them be seen in a negative light that plant seeds of distrust and disloyalty in other people that pit people on your side and do things that position you develop convictions. The second thing step two ponder the consequences of your speech. We touched on this but I wanted to put it right in your notes ponder the consequences of your speech. Jesus says the very last night on the earth a new commandment I give to you he says to his disciples love one another as I've loved you so you must love one another it is by this that men will know that you're my disciples how if you love one another Jesus greatest commandment is love his last prayer on earth in John 17 father make them one even as we are one I in you and you and me maybe may the world see their what their unity words that build up words that are encouraging words that are inclusive words that have to do with we are a team we belong to God not words that tear down and so I have thought to myself it's not about even the impact on me when I bicker when I have backstabbing when I'm divisive I break God's heart I break God's heart and I undermine the very testimony of the church of Jesus Christ that's why this is so serious develop convictions ponder the consequences third refused to buy the lie that remember that lie that it's someone else's problem there's a problem this is why it comes out of my mouth this is why it comes out of your mouth refused to buy the lie that if someone else would shape up then things would be all right notice what it says in Romans 12 Romans 2 3 so when you a mere man pass judgment on them and yet do the same things do you think that you will escape God's judgment see it's not their fault necessarily maybe it's partly their fault but over and over if so and so to do this then things would shape up you know if my wife would just do this if my husband would do this if my kid would do this if our pastor would do this and if you buy that I will guarantee stuff will come out of your mouth that will be destructive because the assumption is you're the judge you have all the facts you you mean you would never say I'm the smartest wisest person in the whole world in every relationship would would anyone just raise their hand and say stand up in this room I just want everyone to know right now I'm the smartest wisest most knowledgeable person who makes the best decisions about every area and every relationship in every circumstance at all times here I am no one would stand up would you but when I judge and believe that the problem is completely the other person's fault and then stuff comes out of my mouth what am I doing I'm I'm I'm I'm by fiat saying that's that's what I believe about myself so develop convictions ponder the consequences refuse to buy the lie step number four refuse to let others gossip this is a hard one I still remember the first time I watched this happen in my life and it's still difficult for me when someone starts sharing things that are inappropriate even in your heart when you know it's inappropriate it's kind of like what do you do hey do you realize you're sinning really big right now knock it off no that won't work you know you're a really mature christian person that I like a lot but you're acting like a jerk no that won't work get behind me saying no that won't work you know and so a lot of times someone is sharing stuff that's you know is inappropriate and and then you find your head's nodding guess when your head's nodding and they're sharing something inappropriate the message you are sending is keep it coming I agree with this so you think oh okay I'm gonna hold my head still and try and change the subject you know what it takes it takes courage I was in an elders meeting early in my pastoral years and a godly godly man guy named Bill Carter I'll probably talk about him a lot God brought him to that church to teach me how to be a pastor along with other elders godly godly man and we were as elders you know I think there was six or seven we were talking about a situation and it was about a person and it wasn't a person in our church and it was a very clear situation and the conversation it was talking just like people talk it was winding around winding around and I watched Bill get real quiet and then you know it was winding around and developing and no one it's like I mean no one has a problem these are godly guys they all love god we had hour of prayer and bible study before we started we're in the spirit and and Bill says excuse me gentlemen and everyone my best understanding of scripture that our discussion of this person is inappropriate in that we are not a part of the problem nor are we a part of God's solution and I think the definition of scripture with regard to gossip is passing on or dealing with information where we're not a part of the problem or the solution you know maybe it'd be a good time to stop and pray for this person and continue with our meeting. Now I mean you you got some power players on that elder board you know and I'm the young pastor going oh I don't know if the bullets are gonna fly or what's gonna happen but I'm just gonna sit back in my chair and go I wonder what's gonna happen here you know and he just had the courage he said it gently he said it lovingly and you know in every dynamic of relationship you have people that are mature and have influence and power and I'll never forget probably the other most powerful person I don't mean that in a negative way I mean it's by maturity and stature he just turned and said man thanks Bill but we gosh guys just thanks Bill let's stop right now and what I learned was in a winsome way when people start telling you information you can kind of put up the stop sign and say you know something I know you probably are doing this from sincere motives so you don't judge them you know maybe it's not but I'll tell you what I'm not a part of the solution and I'm not part of the problem my best understanding of scripture is that you need to go directly to that person and this is inappropriate for you to share for the sake of Jesus in his church and for the sake of that person so if you don't mind could we talk about something else and give them an alternative but you know what when you start doing that it's amazing how little people will gossip around you and is there an uncomfortable moment yes is there a sting to this person yes guess what that's good it's like an antiseptic it's like an antibiotic in the body of Christ and by the way you do know that every church or every group has a what I call a garbage can there is a person that loves to hear this and they keep the lid open and they ask these probing little questions and everyone dumps their gossip here's what you always have to remember that garbage cans goes to another meeting and then they open the lid and they dump it out to other places so be very careful not only how you receive but what you share step number five and this is a good one talk less I mean really this is a discipline proverbs 10 19 when there are many words sin is not absent I like another translation when there are many words sin is unavoidable but he who holds his tongue is wise notice what it says this is a great summary I love it here in the living Bible of this passage don't criticize and speak evil about each other dear brothers if you do you'll be fighting against God's law of loving one another declaring it wrong but your job is not to decide whether the law is right or wrong but to obey it only he who made the law can rightly judge among us he alone decides to save or destroy so what right do you have to judge or criticize others hasn't that captured what we've learned wouldn't it be great to just memorize that little verse or two right there out of the living Bible and can I ask you a question as we close is there anybody that you realize after hearing this message that you need to apologize to is there any person that you realize you have put in a negative light and this will not be easy but I mean it'll cleanse your soul that you may need to write a note to have a breakfast with or a phone call and what I've learned is it's really hard but I've just gotten to where you know hey Bob this is Chip I was in a meeting yesterday and you know brother I'm really working on this but in that meeting your name came up and I didn't say anything really bad or harsh or this or that but someone asked a question and it came out of my mouth and this is what I said and it really cast you in a negative light I've gone back to tell those people that I'm sorry but I felt prompted by God to tell you brother I want to keep short accounts I'm very very sorry it wasn't personal it just sort of popped out of my mouth and I would ask you to forgive me and I will tell you when you make that a practice you'll find it's a lot easier to say less Chip will be right back with his application for this message why we wound others with our words from his series five lies that ruin relationships in this 10-part series Chip describes the common lies we tend to believe that can completely wreck our most treasured relationships he'll also uncover the source of our quarreling the ways words can deeply wound those we love and how not to make decisions discover the practical ways we can apply God's truth to confront and dispel these harmful lies if you've missed any part of the series or want to share it with a friend let me encourage you to check out the chip Ingram app before I come back with some final application I want to give some specific challenges and actually some help to parents that are listening you know Ben Franklin said if you fail to plan you're planning to fail so what's your parenting plan how are you gonna set your kids up for success spiritually relationally financially emotionally what groundwork are you laying right now that your kids can hold on to for decades I mean long after you're gone and they're out of the house well I want to share with you a resource that we have here at Living on the Edge that is specifically designed for moms and dads to help you be intentional in those critical years it's called intentional parenting and it comes from my friends Doug and Kathy fields and through their decades of parenting experience and working with young people they've come up with 10 crucial concepts to be intentional God honoring moms and dads to give their kids what they need I just want to tell you personally I've actually studied and written a book on parenting but what Doug and Kathy have put together is some of the best stuff I've ever seen and there's two ways to get it the first way is on these cards they're intentional parenting cards there's 43 of them that cover these 10 practices and it's just like in bite size little ways that remind you kind of on an ongoing basis how to invest in your kids the second is we have a five-part video series called intentional parenting that Doug teaches these are things you want to get your hands on if you want to make a difference in the lives of your kids thanks Chip well if you'd like to get plugged in with the online course Doug teaches or our set of cards go to Living on the Edge org or call triple-eight three three three six zero zero three make today the day you choose to be more deliberate about your calling as a parent or grandparent again to learn more about these intentional parenting resources go to Living on the Edge org or call triple-eight three three three six zero zero three app listeners tap special offers well with that here's chip with some final thoughts what we talked about in today's message is very easy to grasp intellectually I mean it's not difficult to say I'm going to develop convictions I'm going to ponder the consequences you know I'm going to apologize if necessary I'm just going to start talking less I mean if you really want to get a hold of your tongue and if you know the scripture says if you get a hold of your tongue your whole life will really begin to fall into alignment with God's will but emotionally my experience is what I just talked about I mean it feels impossible and part of it is if the Spirit of God is at work in your heart and my heart and we hear this teaching out of James I can't imagine not having some people come to mind that you realize part of this is going to apologize to them I mean at the very end I talked about you know literally going to some people and talking to them or calling up and having a breakfast or writing a letter or a phone call and and please don't text this one okay I mean that's just a weenie's way out you know I mean I mean you know hey I'm really sorry it's got to be beyond that but here's what I have to say is that it is so difficult to do this that you need to grasp the reality that often the greatest relationships you will ever have in your life will be birthed out of a moment of vulnerability when you humble yourself and say you're sorry and this is a bizarre picture that came to my mind as I was listening and thinking about this message but I was a little boy about eight or nine years old and we moved into a new neighborhood and I had a brand new cowboy hat and it was felt and it was really good and I saved up my money and this kid grabbed my cowboy hat and he put worms in it I mean it was you know it rained and the worms have come out and he was a lot bigger than me and so we had this fight and I can still remember you know it's like a movie a ring of kids around screaming you know I'm the tiny little skinny kid and he's kind of the big kid and he's sitting on me and I can't get him off and we're fighting and fighting and fighting and some parents come out and break us up and and his name was Kevin Kevin became my best friend that conflict that moment of him grabbing my hat and our parents forced us to apologize Kevin King became one of my closest friends all my years growing up and it started out of conflict you know when you humble yourself when you go to that person and you so fear the things that might happen I will tell you people feel safe with other people who own their stuff who humble themselves and with their eyes watering say you know something you're my boss or you're my mate you're my sister you're my friend I said this about you and I'm so ashamed will you please forgive me and I will purpose in my heart not to do that again I will tell you your stock doesn't go down your stock goes up and imagine what God can do when grace flowing downhill as you humble yourself and own your stuff would you consider making the hard decision and doing what you heard God say as you heard the teaching today even though it scares you to death just before we close I want you to know that as a staff we ask the Lord to help you take whatever your next faith step is if there's a way we can help we'd love to do that maybe give us a call at triple eight three three three six zero zero three or connect with us at Living on the Edge dot org and while you're there take a moment and look through our resources on a variety of topics many of them absolutely free well thanks for being with us until next time this is Dave Drewey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge
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