DAY 28 - Read Daily27-11-2019 | Matthew Campbell | YOUTH
Day 28 - Words Matter
Questions for reflection:
- Can you recall a time in your life where someone's words seriously affected you (Either positively or negatively)
- Read James 3:1-12, how does this impact your view of words?
- How can our reckless use of words bring shame to the gospel?
- Where are you tempted to be reckless in your speaking? (Online? In certain friendship groups?) How does this passage encourage you to use your words positively this week in these environments?
Devotion Transcript (Watch on Baptist Youth Youtube Channel)
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me… That’s a statement that, no doubt, you’ve heard before. In fact, you’ve maybe used it before as a child in the playground. It’s a common saying. But the reality is, it’s nonsense. James 3 shows us how the tongue, although a small part of the body, can spark fire and poison the body. In other words, your words are tremendously powerful.
We live in a culture where everyone feels their opinion is of infinite importance. Platforms like Twitter mean you can have your voice heard with a captive audience at any time. We’re almost encouraged to be ill-disciplined in our speech… ‘just say whatever you feel.’ Yet, Paul’s message to Titus and the churches in Crete speak directly against this sort of mindset!
Look what he says to in v9-11 of chapter 3
‘But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.’
Remember, Paul in chapter 3 has been speaking of what the Christian life should look like in the public sphere. Because of the grace of God and the empowering of his Spirit, we are to be model citizens living godly lives. This is how the island of Crete was to be transformed. And v9 he begins with a contrast - Paul’s told us this is how you should live…. then he points out…. here’s what you shouldn’t do… don’t be reckless in your speaking.
Don’t get into meaningless arguments. Don’t rip people apart with your words. Don’t gossip about your neighbour. Don’t bad mouth or judge your church leaders when they make a particular decision. Why? These things bring division. Remember, the whole way through Titus, Paul has been painting a picture of how the church is a symbol of gospel unity. All of us, by virtue of being Christians, are brought into a new way of life, we’re invited into the family of God. We are supernaturally united in Christ.
And so what does disunity do? It attacks the gospel. It suggests that the gospel doesn’t work. And what is one of the primary ways disunity and division is brought about? Through our words. Our words have the power to diminish the reputation of the gospel in our society. What a tragedy! That’s why, for Paul, people who are characterised by being reckless with their words ought to be discipled. He says warn them, v11, and if they keep going warn them again… But after that, have nothing to do with them. Why? Reckless words bring shame to the gospel.