Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday's Resolution {Speech Against Others}

We are picking apart Jonathan Edward's 70 Resolutions, one week and one resolution at a time. Don't forget to start where he did- "Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat Him by His grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ's sake."

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 31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution. 

Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions for speech:

Never. I {foolishly} pride myself on rarely indulging in public gossip. But how often do I speak unjustly or unkindly against others in the privacy of my home to my husband? Or to a very close friend who I can trust to keep it confidential?

When Jonathan Edwards' resolved to never speak against anybody (excepting it was to the highest degree of Christian honor and love to others), I'm pretty certain that meant not even to his wife, or closest confidantes. When it comes to ungodly speech, there is never an appropriate time or place.

Anybody. While I may not often spread gossip or speak nasty words against my common acquaintances, I find it is far too easy to slander politicians, well-known authors and bloggers, public figures, etc. Do my words against them qualify as honorable? True? Humble? Worthwhile? These people are still people, created in the image of God. Scripture commands that I show honor to everyone (1 Pet. 2:17).

In a fallen world, there will be times that we need to speak against others. Anytime that someone's safety is at risk or has been violated, anytime that lies are abounding and need to be set straight by boldly spoken truth, anytime that the Word of God is being compromised... the people of God need to speak up!

There is a right and wrong way to do it, however.

A healthy filter: Are my words perfectly agreeable to....

The highest degree of Christian honor?
Love to mankind?
The lowest humility?
A sense of my own faults and failings?
The Golden Rule?

Jonathan Edwards' 31st Resolution is a fairly comprehensive guideline. By God's grace, I want to strive to glorify Him in my speech. It is no easy task- James 3:2 says the man who doesn't stumble in his speech is a perfect man. I know that I sure don't qualify as perfect {apart from Christ's perfect record attributed to me}! As we seek to walk in obedience to Christ, however, we have every hope of growth and maturation for our speech- all of His grace.

Happy Memorial Day, all! As the daughter and granddaughter of military men, I am thankful for the soldiers who have bravely fought for and defended our nation. Today I am remembering and praying for those who have lost loved ones, and looking forward to the Day when our King of Peace will wipe every tear from our eyes! No more war, no more death, no more sorrow- what a glorious hope we have in Christ! 

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