“But no human can tame the tongue. It is unruly and injurious, full of deadly poison.”
If speech were the only way I could show my spouse that I love him, what would the quality of my speech be like?
The power to communicate can be used to stab or to heal. (Prov. 12:18)
But I am imperfect, and I inevitably say things I regret. (Jas. 3:2)
It can be especially difficult to establish new, positive communication patterns for those whose parents argued critically on a regular basis. (Eph. 4:31; 1 Pet. 2:1)
If I give free rein to my tongue, I can quickly make a delicate situation irreparably worse. (Jas. 1:26; 3:5)
Sometimes it makes more sense to step away for a little while, until tensions cool. (Prov. 17:14; Eccl. 3:7)
Eventually, it is important to discuss matters and not neglect their resolution. (Prov. 15:22) The silent treatment can lead to harboring resentment.
In order to communicate lovingly, I will need to keep a positive attitude with the goal of building my mate up, not bringing him down in the process. (Eph. 4:29)
“[…] Speaking the truth, let us by love grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ.”
How can I “grow up” by love, becoming a more spiritually mature Christian?
Mature Christians look for ways to promote unity in the congregation. (John 17:21,22; Eph. 4:2-4,13,16)
Instead of holding grudges, mature Christians consistently overlook the flaws of their brothers and sisters.
They view others with mercy and compassion. (Eph. 4:25,26; 31,32)
In the above passage, the Greek phrase “alitheiontes” literally means to maintain the truth.
This implies upholding Bible principles even when no one is watching. (Eph. 6:6)
But to be a mature Christian, it is not enough to obey systematically.
I have to be motivated by love.
“Now may the God who supplies endurance and comfort grant you to have among yourselves the same mental attitude that Christ Jesus had.”
Paul had just advised Christians who were strong in the faith to selflessly bear the weaknesses of others. (Rom 15:1-3)
This requires a lot of humility and is not an easy thing to nurture in ourselves.
Being imperfect, we tend towards selfishness. (Eccl. 7:20; Rom. 7:18,19; 12:16)
Every day we have to struggle against the negative, discontent, self-centered spirit in the world. (Eph. 2:2; 4:17,18)
We may relate to the following statement: “Our obvious imperfection, standing in sharp contrast with the perfect pattern that Jesus left us, may at times cause us to be discouraged. We may doubt that having the same mental attitude that Jesus had is even possible.”
Despite our inability to carry out everything God requires of us, we can still serve him in a way that pleases him.
We can read about dozens of exemplary people in the Bible who managed to serve him faithfully and be inspired to imitate their humble attitudes.(Rom. 15:4)
“At that time Daniel discreetly and cautiously spoke to Arioch the chief of the king’s bodyguard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon.”
Daniel and his Jewish companions had been brought from Jerusalem to Babylon to be trained in the knowledge of the Chaldeans and used in the king’s service. (Da. 1:3-7)
Babylonian culture being very superstitious, the king asked his circle of conjurers to explain to him the meaning of a dream he had without telling any of them what the dream itself was. (Da. 2:1-3)
Because this was impossible for them, the king ordered the death of all the “wise men,” including that of Daniel and his friends, who until then, ignored what was going on.
Daniel used discretion and caution when requesting information from the guard who had been sent to kill them.
Daniel set a good example of why God’s people should show respect toward government officials even when we are being treated unjustly. (1 Pe. 2:23)
As a result, Daniel was given Jehovah’s blessing and everyone’s life was spared. (Da. 2:47-49)
“When he spoke to me, spirit came into me and made me stand up on my feet […]”
Sometimes we may feel like we can no longer go on dealing with life’s problems.
We may want to do good and move forward and onward, but we just cannot find any fight left in us.
If we rely on Jehovah God, he will give us the strength to boldly carry on. (Ps. 138:3)
He will give us the peace of mind needed to continue serving him. (Ps. 29:11; Dan. 10:19)
If we continue to ‘walk in Jehovah’s name,’ he will bless us with his superior spirit, allowing us to successfully stand up to our trials. (Zec. 10:12)
“[…] ‘You will search for me with all your heart. And I will let you find me,’ declares Jehovah.”
How do we show God we are sincerely searching for him?
One way is through heartfelt prayer.
“Make me know your ways, O Jehovah; Teach me your paths.” (Ps. 25:4)
Like the psalmist, we need to display humility and recognize we need God’s guidance.
Jehovah invites even those who have strayed from him to come back to him.
“If you search for Jehovah your God from there, you will certainly find him, if you inquire for him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in great distress and all these things have happened to you in later times, then you will return to Jehovah your God and listen to his voice. For Jehovah your God is a merciful God. He will not desert you […]” (De. 4:29-31)
But it is not enough to recognize our own sins. (La. 3:41,42)
Seeking Jehovah implies learning about his personality: what God likes and dislikes and then conforming to his standards. (Je. 31:34)
To find God, we must try to imitate his mercy, ridding ourselves of feelings of hatred toward those who have wronged us. (Mt. 6:12)
Then God allows us to find his peace and a solid hope for the future. (Jer. 29:11,12)
“The windstorm of Jehovah will burst out in fury;
Like a whirling tempest it will whirl down on the head of the wicked.”
In the prophet’s day, the kings and elders were corrupting justice for selfish gain. (Jer. 22:13; 23:1,2,10,11)
We should not let ourselves be consumed by wrathful anger when injustice seems to prevail, because God promises to ultimately bring the wicked to justice.
When God’s justice strikes down, it can be compared to a hurricane.
Can anyone stand in God’s way?
But there is calm in the eye of a hurricane.
If we learn to stand in ‘God’s inner circle’ by repenting and paying attention to his Word, we will be safe and at peace when that day comes. (Jer. 23:5,22)
“[…] Truth has stumbled in the public square,
And what is upright is unable to enter.
Truth has vanished,
And anyone who turns away from bad is plundered.
Jehovah saw this and was displeased,
For there was no justice.”
God expects those in positions of authority to do what is just.
He is not a distant, apathetic God, but is watching the earth closely, ready to intervene when it becomes apparent that no one else will (Is. 59:16,17)
God’s justice will leave no stone unturned. (Is. 59:18)
He hears the plight of those who are alone and suffering. (Is. 59:11)
He promises to bless them with eternal life in an earth rid of evil. (Ps. 37:9-11,29; Is. 60:18,20,21)
This was Christ’s primary message and the message Jehovah’s Witnesses likewise share with the public. (Is. 61:1,2)
“[…] All your sons will be taught by Jehovah,
And the peace of your sons will be abundant.”
One of the identifying markers of true worship is the peacefulness of those who practice it.
Jesus said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35)
Isaiah himself prophesied that in the last days, God’s people would be made up of peace-lovers from different ends of the earth. (Is. 2:2,4)
But is an international brotherhood of peace really something attainable in these divided times we are living?
Jesus also stated: “The things impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
If we love God and want to follow in Christ’s footsteps, we will not only practice a form of worship free of promoting hatred or war, but will ‘clothe ourselves’ with love in the manner in which we speak and treat those around us on a daily basis. (Col. 3:12-15)