(This week I’ve included the original song “To You O Lord” with this blog. Enjoy!)

One test of a life of worship is found in the words we speak about others. I should know, as I’ve stumbled in this area more than I care to admit.

Not long ago I was talking with a family member on the phone. During our conversation, we started talking about someone we both knew, and soon I caught myself saying some negative things about that person. Almost immediately The Holy Spirit shed light on the sin of my words, and I asked forgiveness of God and the family member for my reckless words. Later the other family member and I agreed we would keep our words positive and prayers upward for that person.

This week a pastor reminded me of an important principle. He quoted the late corporate strategist, writer, and speaker Steven Covey:

“Be loyal to the absent.”

These are wise words for all of us to appropriate in our lives. It’s far too easy for our human nature to kick in and we spew harsh words against the very people God asks us to reach and love for him. The writer James put it this way in the Bible:

“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless…With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
James 1:26, 3:9-11

As Christ followers, we are called to worship God with our thoughts, lives, and words. The spiritual strategy of “taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ” (see 2 Corinthians 10:5) is an effective tool to filter our words before they come out of our mouths. I continually ask God to help me to pray for those who offend or hurt me and let my words reflect the grace and mercy He has given to me.

When inappropriate words come out of our mouths—and until we meet the Lord and are completed in Him they occasionally will— it’s important to immediately turn from the sin of our words and seek forgiveness from God and anyone else we have hurt. When we do this, we have a strong, perfect defender in Christ Jesus who forgives, picks us up, dusts us off, and restores us to ‘go and sin no more.’ Here is how the writer John described it:

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. “ 1 John 2:1

Our words about God and others can be an act of worship that soars above the downward pull of our old nature. I pray our words will be filled with the love and grace God has freely given us, and uplifting to those we meet as we go through the day.

God bless you.

Chris Atkins