The talent of speech carries with it great responsibility. It needs to be carefully guarded; for it is a mighty power for evil as well as for good.
E. G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 3, p. 1142
The talent of speech was given to be used for the benefit of all. Pleasant, cheery words cost no more than unpleasant, moody words. Sharp words wound and bruise the soul. In this life everyone has difficulties with which to wrestle. Everyone meets with grievances and disappointments. Shall we not bring sunshine instead of gloom into the lives of those with whom we come in contact? Shall we not speak words that will help and bless? Such words will be just as verily a blessing to us as to those to whom they are spoken.
Parents allow no faultfinding in your home. Teach your children to speak pleasant words, words that will bring sunshine and joy. Angels are not attracted to a home where discord reigns. Bring practical godliness into the home. Prepare yourselves and your children for entrance into the city of God. Angels will be your helpers. Satan will tempt you, but do not yield. Do not speak one word of which the enemy can take advantage.
Day by day we are sowing seeds for the future harvest. We cannot be too careful of the seed we sow by our words. Often words are carelessly spoken and forgotten, but these words, for good or ill, will bring forth a harvest. Sow one unkind, harsh word, and this seed, finding soil in the minds of the hearers, will spring up to bear fruit after its kind. Sow one seed in loving, gentle, Christlike words, and it will bring you rich returns. Let us guard ourselves, lest we speak words that are not a blessing, but a curse. If we sow wheat we shall reap wheat; if we sow tares we shall reap tares; and the harvest, whether of wheat or of tares, will be sure and abundant.
God calls upon His children to guard their words.
E. G. White, Our High Calling, p. 294
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:12-14 Then shall we not all, old and young, learn to converse in the language that is spoken by those who are translated into God’s kingdom? Shall not our words be such as will be heard with pleasure by our Heavenly Father?
As those who claim to be Christians, we are under solemn obligations to reveal the truth of our profession by our words. The tongue is a little member; but what an amount of good it can do if the heart is pure! If the heart is stored with good things, if it is stored with Christlike tenderness, sympathy, and politeness, this will be shown by the words spoken and the actions performed. The light shining from the word of God is our guide. Nothing so weakens a church as a wrong use of the talent of speech. We dishonor our Leader when our words are not such as should come from the lips of a Christian.
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12, 13 The quality of our work is shown by our words. When our words and works harmonize in Christ, we show that we are consecrated to God, perfecting holiness in his fear. As we give ourselves, soul, body, and spirit, to him, he works in us, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
The love of Christ in the heart is revealed by the expression of praise. Those who are consecrated to God will show this by their sanctified conversation. If their hearts are pure, their words will be pure, showing an elevated principle working in a sanctified direction. The mind will be absorbed in holy contemplation, and there will be a sense of the presence of God.
E. G. White, Review and Herald, January 18, 1898
There have been many unwise, talkative ones, who through much talking have separated very friends. The churches need to be purged of this element; for where the unruly tongue finds room to do its unholy work, the joy of the Lord can not abide.
Let the suspicious ones, who think and speak evil of their brethren, remember that they are doing the devil’s drudgery. Let each member of the church work with earnest determination, and with prayer for help, to cure the disease member, the tongue. Let every one feel that it is his duty and privilege to pass over little differences and mistakes without comment. Do no magnify the small mistakes made by some one, but think of the good that is in him. Each time these mistakes are thought of and talked about, they grow larger. A mountain is made out of a mole-hill. Ill-feeling and lack of confidence is the result…
So great is the intemperance in speech that much instruction has been given on this subject by the greatest Teacher the world has ever seen. He has given special directions for the discipline of the tongue. Study and obey these directions. Check the unwholesome words that if spoken would create differences and alienation. Speak words that will cement hearts, not estrange them, words that will heal, not wound.
E. G. White, Australasian Union Conference Record, April 15, 1903
Speech is one of the great gifts of God. It is the means by which the thoughts of the heart are communicated. It is with the tongue that we offer prayer and praise to God. With the tongue we convince and persuade. With the tongue we may make known the wonders of the grace of God. With the tongue also we may utter perverse things, speaking words that sting like an adder.
The tongue is a little member, but the words it frames have great power. The Lord declares, “The tongue can no man tame.” James 3:8 It has set nation against nation, and has caused war and bloodshed. Words have kindled fires that have been hard to quench. They have also brought joy and gladness to many hearts. And when words are spoken because God says, “Speak unto them my words,” Ezekiel 3:4 they often cause sorrow unto repentance.
Of the unsanctified tongue the apostle James writes: “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” James 3:6 Satan puts into the mind thoughts which the Christian should never utter. The scornful retort, the bitter passionate utterance, the cruel, suspicious charge, are from him. How many words are spoken that do only harm to those who utter them and to those who hear! Hard words beat upon the heart, awaking to life its worst passions. Those who do evil with their tongues, who sow discord by selfish, jealous words, grieve the Holy Spirit; for they are working at cross-purposes with God.
The apostle, seeing the inclination to abuse the gift of speech, gives direction concerning its use. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,” he says, “but that which is good to the use of edifying.” Ephesians 4:29 The word “corrupt” means here any word that would make an impression detrimental to holy principles and undefiled religion, any communication that would eclipse the view of Christ, and blot from the mind true sympathy and love. It includes impure hints, which, unless instantly resisted, lead to great sin. Upon every one is laid the duty of barring the way against corrupt communications.
It is God’s purpose that the glory of Christ shall appear in his children. In all his teaching, Christ presented pure, unadulterated principles. He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. Constantly there flowed from his lips holy, ennobling truths. He spoke as never man spoke, with a pathos that touched the heart. He was filled with holy wrath as he saw the Jewish leaders teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, and he spoke to them with the authority of true greatness. With terrible power he denounced all artful intrigue, all dishonest practices. He cleansed the temple from its pollution, as he desires to cleanse our hearts from everything bearing any resemblance to fraud. The truth never languished on his lips. With fearlessness he exposed the hypocrisy of priest and ruler, Pharisee and Sadducee.
Guard well the talent of speech; for it is a mighty power for evil as well as for good. You can not be too careful of what you say; for the words you utter show what power is controlling the heart. If Christ rules there, your words will reveal the beauty, purity, and fragrance of a character molded and fashioned by his will. But if you are under the guidance of the enemy of all good, your words will echo his sentiments.
The great responsibility bound up in the use of the gift of speech is plainly made known by the Word of God. “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by they words thou shalt be condemned,” Christ declared. Psalm 15:1-5
“Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.” The wild beast of the forest may be tamed. “but the tongue can no man tame.” Only through Christ can we gain the victory over the desire to speak hasty, unchristlike words. When in his strength we refuse to give utterance to Satan’s suggestions, the plant of bitterness in our hearts withers and dies. The Holy Spirit can make the tongue a savor of life unto life.
E. G. White, Review and Herald, May 12, 1910