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And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak. (Matthew 12:36)
You probably remember an old proverb that went something like:
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me..."
I recall using this phrase when someone loosed verbal venom my way, how about you? Let's be honest, though, the whole reason we said it was because we really were hurt. There are things that have been said to me that I will never forget, and they still sting like the day they were spoken.
O.K. so we all agree that we should control our tongues and not slam people to their face. That's why it's so much easier to do it behind their backs, then deny it later- right? Check out this story:
In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"
"Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."
"That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. That's why I call it the triple filter test. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"
"No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and..."
"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?"
"No, on the contrary..."
"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: the filter of usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?"
"No, not really."
"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"
- Author Unknown
James (the brother of Jesus) put it this way: "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless." (James 1:26)
In other words, one of the primary ways we show that we are truly members of God's family is by keeping our mouth shut when we're tempted to gossip. It really gets scary when you think about what Christ said in Matthew 12:36...notice He didn't say that we would have to give an account for 'most' of our idle words, or for the worst things we said, but for EVERY unkind utterance. Our speech is under heavenly surveillance, and we are all building up quite a dialogue database.
So...got gossip? Perhaps today you should start triple filtering so you don't get double whammied on judgment day.
Dare 2 Share is a church assisting ministry that provides resources for youth leaders and equips teens to relationally and relentlessly reach their generation for Christ. Over 1,400 of these resources are provided completely FREE! D2S also conducts nationwide youth evangelism training conferences. The events are structured for students in junior high and high school, ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Regardless of gender or denomination, D2S teaches from a Christian perspective. D2S is based in Denver, Colorado and has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 teens since 1991.
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