“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,
but only such as is good for building up,
as fits the occasion,
that it may give grace to those who hear.”
How blind we are to our own sins. We justify ourselves without thought, without even realizing that we’re doing it, being so sure that we are right. And how gracious God is that he doesn’t cast us off, though we’ve given him more than ample reason to do so. Indeed, if someone were to sin against me as much as I have sinned against God, I’m sure I would have written that person off long ago. But God is faithful & will NEVER cast off his people! How patient he is with us his children, so much more patient than I am with my children.
The Lord has revealed one such blindness in my life, so I flee to the cross for cleansing, and praise him for his grace. I have been hyper-critical & judgmental, seeing only the faults rather than the good, and using my tongue to discourage rather than encourage. This sin is more insidious than mere offense against our fellow man, for by failing to see the good in others & failing to point it out, we are failing to see the work of God (unbelief) & failing to praise him for it (ingratitude). For God is the One who works good in each man (James 1.17), and works all for our good (Romans 8.28); therefore, we should always be filled with thanks (Ephesians 5.20; Colossians 3.15-17). [Note: When unbelievers do what is right & good & praiseworthy, we call it “common grace” because ultimately God caused them to do it.] So that brother we write off as useless is not without the Spirit’s grace & power, but appointed by God to be our brother, and a sure manifestation of the glory of his grace in some way. God help us to see his glory! God’s glory is manifested even in the unbeliever, otherwise he could never be “the servant of God to us for good” (Romans 13.4). Therefore, our mouths should be filled with praise & thanksgiving to God, and praise & thanksgiving to our fellow man, whether believer or unbeliever.
But what does that look like? How can we praise a man for some good quality in him or something good he’s done without feeding his ego or flattering him? God’s Word gives us some examples to help us: 1Corinthians 1.4-9; 1Thessalonians 1.2-10; and 2.13-3.13. In 1Corinthians, Paul tells the church that he thanks God for them & the grace be poured out upon them & the gifts he gave them, and then he lists some of those good things in them. In other words, his praise does not end on the people, but, while affirming them, proceeds beyond them to praise God ultimately. So I can say to someone, “God has made you very generous; thank you for your kindness to me.” Or, “I thank God for you & for the faith he’s given you; I’m encouraged to trust God more by the faith I see in you.” Or, “You are like Christ in your compassion for people.” Even to be likened to an Apostle would be a great honor, but I can think of no higher honor than for someone to say I am like God or like Christ in some respect.
Long term Missionary to Suriname
Psalm 67 Missions Network