Ephesians 4:25: “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”
The power of the tongue is a precious gift when used not only to praise God in truth, but also to speak the truth in love to the neighbour and to express love for the neighbour. The Catechism expresses our positive calling this way, “that in judgment and all other dealings I love the truth, speak it uprightly and confess it; also that I defend and promote, as much as I am able, the honor and good character of my neighbour.”
That means that when my neighbour is a fellow believer, my speech seeks to encourage him spiritually, to strengthen his faith. Woe to that man who is a stumbling block to the brother. I don’t speak, of course, of those offenses that come when a brother refuses to hear the instruction of the Scriptures. As Prov 10:17b says, “he that refuseth reproof erreth.” When you bring the Word of God to a wayward brother and he is offended because he refuses to hear the Word with application to himself, that is not your fault — assuming you have spoken the truth in love and with a proper spiritual attitude. Then, his taking offense is not a rejection of you, but of the Word. But woe to that man who becomes a stumbling block to the brother by reason of evil-speaking, or of living a lie. The speech of love is a speech that edifies, that builds up in the faith, that encourages in the truth of God’s Holy Word.
On the other hand, when my neighbour is an unbeliever, the power of the tongue is used to his advantage when I confess the truth of God’s Word and show my life in harmony with that Word of truth. Certainly I am not promoting the honour of my neighbour, when I hide the truth from him and ignore the coming consequence of his walk in unbelief. As much as I am able, I am to speak the truth and confess the name of Him Who is truth. That is the purpose for which God gave me a tongue and the power of speech — to glorify Him in truth, and to promote that truth also in relation to my neighbour.
Steven R. Key (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: September 1986
Pastorates: Southeast, Grand Rapids, MI - 1986; Randolph, WI - 1991; Hull, IA - 2000; Loveland, CO - March 2010Website: https://sites.google.com/site/lovelandprctest1/home
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