By Ed Wittlif
"It came about after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, 'My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has'" (Job 42:7 NASB). When you read the book of Job you see that his three friends began well. They sat with Job for seven days and seven nights without speaking (Job 2:13). They must have been good comforters just by their presence. However, then they opened their mouths and spoke of things about God and His purpose that they didn't understand.
God said, "You have not spoken of Me what is right." Have you ever considered that God is listening to what you say? I will admit that sometimes it seems that when I open my mouth, I disengage my brain. James tells us to be "slow to speak" (James 1:19c). We have a saying, "Think before you speak."
Jesus warns us, "But I tell that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matthew 12:36-37).
It isn't just angry words that James was dealing with, or careless thoughtless words, or words that hurt. It is also what we say about God, like Job's friends. Misquoting God's words, or twisting His words like Satan, or presenting an untrue picture of God misrepresents God. God is listening to us even before the words come out of our mouths. "Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O, Lord, You know it all" (Psalm 139:4).
God not only hears us, but He knows our motive for saying it. Therefore, think carefully before speaking and let your words be seasoned with grace knowing that God is listening.
- Ed Wittlif is from Denver, CO; via the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. Joe Slater serves as minister and he may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com