By Nichelle Cook
June 15, 2012
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” James 1:19 KJV
My grandmother used to always use the old adage, “Nothing ruins a duck, but it’s bill.” Although I didn’t quite get what she was saying at the tender age of five, common sense and maturity eventually allowed me to place it into context, and realize that the message was to choose my words carefully. It wasn’t until much later that I fully understood the saying and realized how much danger the duck subjects himself to when he doesn’t use discretion in his quacking. Perhaps his rationale is that the rigors of day-to-day life are already tough enough, and having to guard his tongue as well is just a little too much. Truth be told, however, many of the situations the duck faces could be avoided… if he just learned how to hold his peace.
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 KJV
The duck, my example, bears a striking resemblance to us as Christians. Like the duck, our quacking often places us in situations that allow the devil to chip away at our walk with God. Even more disturbing is the fact that we don’t realize the danger that awaits us until we’ve already subjected ourselves to it. I’m sure, like myself, you can remember the time(s) when you said something(s) that you’d give anything to take back because the facial expression or tone of voice of the person you were talking to caused you to realize just how deep your stab to the heart really was. The sad truth is that no matter how much you say ‘I’m sorry’, the memory of what you said may continue to live on. But the bright side is that your future words and actions of love have the power to lessen the sting of your past mistakes.
“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16
I absolutely adore this scripture for two reasons:
(1) It takes into account the fact that choosing to walk with God should be accompanied by a new mindset of purity (holiness).
(2) It provides a stark contrast to our past lives of ignorance, and lusts of the flesh.
The first point is critical because many people believe that what they say has nothing to do with their relationship with God. In fact, I’ve heard the quote, “God is only concerned with the heart” seemingly a million times. I agree that God judges our intentions, but how much of our intentions come across in what we say? Luke 6:45 tells us that “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” In other words, there is a strong connection between what fills a persons heart, and what it spoken from his/her lips.
The second point is also equally critical to consider because we all have done things that we’re not proud of. However, 1 Peter 14:16 lets us know that if we walk in “obedience” to God’s word and stop allowing the ignorance of our past to govern our lives then we set ourselves up for beginning the quest toward holiness. Once we allow God to change the way we think then changes in our actions and speech inevitably follow. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Here is a scripture to ponder as we consider ways to use the fruits of our lips to edify one another and not tear each other down.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” – Philippians 4:8
B.L.O.G. Contributing Writer
Nichelle N. Cook is a just a little nerdy Christian girl who loves God with all her heart! Currently, Nichelle serves as an intern for Health Law Advocates of Louisiana where she assists Louisiana residents with gaining access to healthcare. She is a third-year law student at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. Her career interests include improving the quality of education and healthcare around the country and providing support for small businesses owners. In short, she just enjoys helping people fulfill their God-given purposes and assisting them with acquiring the necessary resources toward that end. Through the support of her amazing mom and dad and other loved ones, she is the founder and executive director of a small, local Christian non-profit organization dedicated to educating and empowering the next generation of leaders through tutoring and mentoring