Thursday, January 26, 2017
Holy People Hold their Tongue
Psa. 15 A Psalm of David.
1 O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy hill?
Psa. 15:2 Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
and speak the truth from their heart;
3 who do not slander with their tongue,
and do no evil to their friends,
nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
The desire of David is to dwell in the holy space of God’s presence. Jesus’ life provided the pathway for all of us to join him on the holy hill, to be transformed by God’s holy presence. We are constantly drawn up the hill so that we can abide in fellowship with our holy God. Being in God’s holy presence becomes transformational because the Lord’s holiness begins to work on the impurities which may be found in our lives. Transformed hearts lead to transformed living. No longer can we speak “untruths,” but must speak the truth as it comes from our heart. A heart which is touched by the holy love of God.
Once this happens we are convicted when we begin to slander our brother or sister. Holy love of God becomes holy love of the other. When we desire the best for someone else we would never think of speaking ill against them. Every word that comes out of our mouth is carefully monitored by the working of the Holy Spirit, for words can be as damaging as actions. Instead, speaking ill of a friend or coworker is far from the behavior of the one abiding on the hill with God, for holy people hold their tongue.
We live in an era where it’s hard to get to the bottom of the truth and the use of social media has created a new art-form to the use of words. Maybe my title should have been, “Holy people hold their tongue and don’t post everything that pops into their mind.” Lest you think this is a political post — it’s not! This is a message to the people of God, not the secular world. David was referring to those who would abide in the presence of God most high. These are the “holiness” people of his day and he realized that they had a problem. They liked to talk and gossip, and they tore one another apart with their words.
While this was already a problem in David’s day, it has become magnified these days because of social media. Somehow we think it’s okay to say things to one another in “anonymous” posts that we would never say when we are together, face to face. Or, “in confidence” we “share” our “concerns” about someone with a friend. We are actually trying to condone our criticism and negative talk. It’s easy to tear down that sister or brother that has a different political view, or doesn’t raise their kids well, or spends too much on certain items, or maybe interprets theology differently, or has a church that’s growing (and surely they must be doing something wrong!), or the church leader that just “doesn’t get it!” Wow — it can become a growing cancer in our lives and the one that ultimately suffers — is us — because we can’t continue this attitude and abide in the Lord’s tent. Suddenly our words have taken us far from God’s holy presence and we didn’t even know it was happening.
Words really do matter and they reflect our hearts. When we are in an intimate relationship with God, then our heart begins to reflect God’s heart. If that’s not what’s happening, then we had better get on our knees and confess that we have strayed from God’s tent, because holy people hold their tongue.
Lord, I confess that I don’t always hold my tongue. Please, help me draw closer to you and may my words reflect you well. Amen.