29 Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).
31 Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind). 32 And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:29-32 Amplified (AMP)
I don’t know how familiar each of you may be with the story of “Diamonds and Toads”. Here is a quick synopsis;
A bad-tempered old widow had two daughters, her older daughter was disagreeable and proud but looked and behaved like her mother, and therefore was her favorite child. She and her eldest daughter badly mistreated the woman’s younger daughter, who was sweet, courteous, and beautiful, but resembled her late father.
One day while drawing water from the well, an old woman asked for a drink of water. The girl politely consented and after giving it, she found that the woman was a fairy, who had taken the guise of a crone to test the character of mortals. As the girl was so kind and compassionate toward her, the fairy blessed her with having either a jewel, a diamond or a pretty flower fall from her mouth whenever she spoke.
Upon arriving home and explaining why she took so long to her mother, the widow was delighted at the sight of diamonds, pearls and roses falling from the girl’s lips, and desired that her favored eldest daughter, Fanny, should have the gift as well. Fanny protested, but the widow forcibly sent her to the well with instruction to act kindly toward an old beggar woman. Fanny set off but the fairy appeared as a fine princess, and requested that the girl draw her a drink from the well. The elder daughter spoke rudely to the fairy and insulted her. The fairy decreed that, as punishment for her despicable attitude, either a toad or a snake would fall from Fanny’s mouth whenever she spoke.
When Fanny arrived home, she told her story to her mother and disgusting toads and vipers fell from her mouth with each word. The widow, in a fury, drove her younger daughter out of the house. In the woods, she met a king’s son, who fell in love with her and married her. In time, even the widow was sickened by her older daughter, and drove her out, and she died alone and miserable in the woods. – Wikipedia
It’s funny that with most stories you can pull out the parallels to events and principles already firmly established in God’s Word.
The Sheep and the Goats
31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. 34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ 41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’
44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’ 45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’ 46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.” – Matthew 25:31-46 The Message
Like parables found in the bible our very own life stories have a way of painting pictures for others to glean either inspiration or to find hopelessness and despair.
We each hold a great deal of responsibility for every word spoken. Be it either for the building up or tearing down of God’s children. And regardless of whether or not the person is categorized as “saved” or “part of the Faith” should be of little to no consequence. I truly believe WE that are “of the faith” have an even greater responsibility to show God’s nature and love through His Church.
“Christians” on a whole have done tremendous things by and for the glory of our Father, but in the same turn we have also caused so much damage. There are many “Mother Teresa’s” but there are also the Crusades forever cemented in history.
People say that Christians are some of the most miserable people to be around or talk to. The claims are that we are judgmental, critical, short-sighted, rude, obnoxious and downright mean! We are quick to slap a cross around our necks and put on gospel music in one regard and in the next sit and gossip, fault-find and slander others. What’s even sadder is the fact that we seem completely oblivious to the fact that this behavior IS being observed by others, particularly those NOT of the “faith”.
We are piously observant of the Word but don’t allow it to take a deep routed seat in our inner beings allowing the Holy Spirit to work a change and transformation in us.
Most gossip and slander comes from those who are insecure and hurting themselves. People who hurt, from whatever experiences in life, must be healed themselves before they are able to pass on healing to others. Lord knows just how intimately I know this and continue at times to struggle with. Even in everyday life, be it not for my increased love of Him more and more, the temptation to fall back into old habits would prove too much to resist. I can honestly say some days are better than others, (I have MORE than an ability to spew a few toads…) but no matter how many times we fall we also have the ability to pray, repent and realign ourselves once again.
God says to come unto Him to receive healing and restoration for our wounds. Every day we have the opportunity to receive new trials, new wounds, and new torments. Without God’s Spirit we would continue through life receiving inflictions all the while passing them on to those unfortunate enough to be around at the time. We must ask ourselves is this really what God wants? Is this really all life is? We know that in fact this is NOT the way! But in fact there is a better and more fulfilling way, but to have it we must operate in the Spirit of God vs. the spirit of this world.
Each day we look at the world and the many struggling finding what seems to be hopelessness at every turn. My faith has provided for me the Hope lost to so many. But the beauty is that no Hope is completely lost forever, but instead is just misplaced and must be re-found. Our duty, as His Church, is to help those who have temporarily misplaced their hope by and through our actions and words. But not the bible beating kind please! What we do and our conduct will have a great impact, and when the time DOES comes to speak, we will have the proof to back up our claims. We each are to pray for the divine Guard to be set over our mouths.
And just like the two daughters, one being led by the example of one parent, and the other by the other (her Father), we must decide which Parent we are going to follow, and what will be the result of that example. Diamonds or Toads, which one we will choose.
Be forever Blessed~