Monday, March 28, 2011

Christian Conversation

Unwholesome Talk

(edited from Thomas Reade’s “On Christian Conversation”)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)

   We ought never to speak unfavorably, not even by insinuation, of absent people, except when duty positively requires it; and even then, there should be a marked and sincere regret that the occasion calls for such an exposure of character.
   We must guard against attributing wrong motives to the actions of others, even when appearances might favor such a conclusion; remembering that God alone knows the heart.  Who are we, that we should judge our brother?
   We should avoid every thing that borders upon flattering adulation, especially towards those who are present; knowing how pernicious praise is to a fallen creature, and how few are able to withstand its influence. This does not exclude a proper commendation, or a suitable encouragement, when dictated by Christian simplicity and prudence.
   We must not indulge in those exaggerations, those strong hyperboles, those embellished representations, which seem to give force to conversation, but which actually destroy its delicacy and beauty. This mode of speaking, by stretching out too far, touches upon the confines of falsehood. Truth appears most beautiful in its own native simplicity.
   Christian conversation is marked by love, humility, and purity.
   Love leads us to converse with delight on all subjects connected with the glory of God and the good of man.
   Humility draws a veil over her own graces, and delicately discovers the excellencies of others. It frankly confesses her own faults, and carefully conceals the failings of others.
   Purity, like the refreshing rose, sheds a fragrance peculiarly its own over our whole conversation; and, like that lovely flower, leaves its reviving scent when we are gone.
   How different from the conversation of the wicked, whose throat is compared in Scripture to an open sepulcher; loathsome and offensive, disgusting and pestilential.

     But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.
(Matt.12:36, 37)

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