Grace-Energized-Women: No Slander and No Excess
Part 2 Continued from October 30th
Godly Women Seek to be Reverent in Their Behavior
v. 3b “not slanderers” (2)
Next Paul turns the spotlight on the hardest member of the body to control, according to James, the tongue. Twice in his epistles Paul targets a woman’s habits of her speech, saying it is a spiritual qualifier or disqualifier. Though this is a universal problem we all face, Paul specifically says to women who want to serve Christ's church, guard those tongues. 1 Timothy 3:11 “In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything” (NIV).
“Whereas men tend to be rough or violent in their actions, women have a tendency to be rough or violent in their words. Older women who find themselves with time on their hands can be tempted to allow their conversations to lead to gossip, criticism, and slander.”
James tells us that a tongue out of control indicates a life out of control. He goes on to warn how huge can be the dangerous effects of uncontrolled words. James 3:2, 6 “For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” (NAS)
Note that the source of all wickedness, especially of an uncontrolled tongue, is hell; and it is Satan who is at the root of all gossip, all harmful talk, and all slander. If you are damaging the reputation and ministry of others, you are a tool of the devil.
Right after James’ discussion of the tongue he explains that our motivation either comes from below (Satan’s realm) or above (God’s). We can tell by the byproduct of our words and actions. When what we say causes this list of woes from James 3:15-16: “jealousy, selfish ambition, disorder, envy, and every evil practice” or as one man puts it, “Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats.”
In fact the word “slanderers” here in Titus 2:3 is diabolos, the very name of Satan used of him 34 times in the New Testament. Satan has been a false accuser and so each time he incites a believer to do so, they are doing Satan’s work. Satan is the ultimate source of all evil, the root of all wrong behavior; and since James says the tongue is capable of causing great evil, Satan is always close at hand.
Godly Titus Two Women Never Are to Surrender Their Tongues to the Devil
Stop, and as the Psalmist says, set a guard at the door of your mouth (Psalm 141:3). Be sure that what you say is absolutely true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report before you say it—or you will severely lessen your ministry effectiveness as a godly Titus two woman.
Remember that it has been estimated that from the first "Good morning" to the last "Good night," the average person engages in thirty conversations a day. Each day, his words could make a book of 50-60 pages-the equivalent of more than one hundred books a year of 200 pages each.
Our tongue is an intriguing study of great contrasts. Think of that object resting in your mouth just now.
To the doctor it is a two ounce slab of mucous membrane containing a world of inter-related muscles and nerves. That is the physiological tongue.
To our Body it is a vital organ that must work properly if we are to eat, chew, taste, swallow, and talk. That is the helpful tongue.
To other people the tongue is the primary avenue of communication. It gives us the ability to inflect sounds and articulate words distinctly. It gives us a vehicle to communicate our thoughts. That is the essential tongue.
Yes, without the tongue -
- No teacher could guide their pupils.
- No coach could prepare his team.
- No mother could softly sing her baby to sleep.
- No leader could motivate his group adequately.
- No pastor could bring comfort to heavy hearts.
- No issues could be discussed and resolved.
In fact, without the communication of conversation our whole planet would be reduced to a mere roar of unintelligible grunting and groaning. It is rare that we stop to reflect on how vital this little muscle in our mouth really is. But without being given over in obedience to Christ, our tongues are dangerous.
One common type of talk that hurts is called gossip and comes in many forms. Here are three forms of gossip that all of us, and especially those who earnestly seek to be a Titus two man or woman, should always avoid: malicious talk that is geared to cut, to destroy, to divide friends, break relationships, and erode trust. This is the fire James spoke of.
Secondly, avoid rationalized gossip/talk which is when a person is convinced (and deceived by themselves) that they are to share this information for the “good” of the other person, often for them to “pray” about. But again, down deep just like malicious talk, this type of talk is gossip that causes harm and is empowered by the devil.
The third and final type of malicious talking that we all need to avoid is “innocent” gossip. This usually starts with proper motives and desires but gets off course with unwise sharing of sensitive information, then curiosity sets in and soon the conversation is far beyond the problem and the solution and has become malicious, slanderous, harmful gossip.
So what should we avoid? Never use our mouth in an unregenerated way! What should we do? Tame our tongue by the Holy Spirit as His Word richly dwells and permeates all our lives. Why not like David, make some plans now to change our usage of our tongues?
Here are three great ways to change:
- Think first: before starting to say something pause a few seconds and ask are these words--true or false; exaggerated or accurate; healing or cutting; grateful or complaining?
- Talk less: it is a biblical fact that the less you talk the wiser you appear. Plan, prepare, concentrate and enrich each opportunity to speak. Make each a time to speak as 1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. NKJV
- Start now: like David, ask God to fit you for a word retainer, get braces put on that tongue. Don't waste your greatest tool.
This sermon will continue tomorrow November 1st when we look at how women seek to be reverent in their behavior.
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit discoverthebook.org.