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"Say 'Yes' when you mean 'Yes' and 'No' when you mean 'No.' Anything beyond that is from the evil one." —Matthew 5:37
In the Old Testament, the Lord commanded us not to take a false oath. However, Jesus tells us not to swear at all (Mt 5:33-34). When we open our mouths, what we say must not only be true but for the glory of God. Most people, even many Christians, use their voices to further their own interests, get their way, and make themselves look good. We must repent and use our voices to further the Lord's interests, get His way, and draw all attention to Him.
We speak from the abundance of our hearts (Lk 6:45). If we speak selfishly, we show that our hearts are self-centered rather than God-centered. The Lord also tells us that, if we are without fault in speech, we can control our entire bodies (Jas 3:2). Consequently, if our speech is not under His lordship, other aspects of our lives and bodies are not under control.
Ironically, when we selfishly use our speech to manipulate and control, we lose control. If we try to save our lives by the use of our speech, we will lose them. But if we lose our lives by surrendering our speech to the Lord, we will save them (Lk 9:24). Let Jesus be Lord of your tongue, mouth, and speech.
Prayer: Father, may I obey Your commands of "what to say and how to speak" (Jn 12:49).
Promise: "He died for all so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for Him Who for their sakes died and was raised up." —2 Cor 5:15
Praise: St. Anthony of Padua wrote: "We should speak as the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of speech." He preached the word of God in the Holy Spirit so zealously that entire cities converted to the Lord.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape, Do Not Judge Others, on audio AV 58-1 or video V-58.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 5, 2009
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