Yesterday we had a guest pastor speak at our church. He spoke on Matthew 5:21-24.
You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgement.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, "You fool!" will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."
It was a very powerful message titled "Murder in the Church". If you want to listen to the whole thing you can download it here.
But I just want to share a few things that stuck out to me. We often look at murderers and think what horrible people and often feel we are better than them. I know you have all read these verses a million times. But have you really thought about them? We really are no different than a murderer! How many times this past week have you murdered someone with your tongue?
As women, we tend to gossip, look for the bad in people, slander, backbite. I know this used to consume my conversations. It is something I have really tried to work on not doing in the past few years, but I know I fall back into my old habits pretty easily. One thing that really stood out to me, (I wish I could quote it word for word) what if when someone started talking bad about another person and we stopped them by telling them we need to stop MURDERING that person! Wouldn't that stop our gossiping if we really used it in such bold words!
I really want to encourage you as Christian women to really think about your conversations. Ask for forgiveness for your past sins and ask God to truly help you in your speech.
I've been doing a Bible study for my devotions by Elizabeth George called Nurturing a Heart of Humility. It's a study about Mary. I want to finish this post by quoting something that she wrote in one of the lessons.
Beloved, what do you tend to talk about when you are with other Christian women? We have so many options, don't we? We choose to talk about trivia, trash, the latest "talk" from a talk show, the local news, gossip, or--our most well-loved topic---our self!
If we are nurturing a heart of humility, our "talk" will be markedly different! Why? Because as women who are humble--women after God's own heart--we will think of others. We will be other-oriented. We will, like Elizabeth, seek to encourage others, honor others, bless others, build up others. One of the principles of my life I owe to a principle from one of my husband Jim's sermons: Make it your goal that, in every encounter, others are better off for having been in your presence.
Dear one, such a goal assists both you and me as we seek to be women who encourage others!
I'm not sure about you, but I know I would rather have people walk away from a conversation with me encouraged by my words instead of murdered by my words. May we all prayerfully seek to be humble women of God.