Sunday Considerations: Speak Peaceably

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.
John 14:27 (HCSB)

Another thing to be done in fulfillment of our duty is, to speak peaceably. The peace of neighborhoods is often destroyed by words. “Grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1. “For lack of wood a fire goes out. Without gossip, a quarrel dies down. As coals are to hot embers, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindling strife.” Proverbs 26:20, 21. “The words of a talebearer are as wounds.” Proverbs 18:8. “Render not railing for railing.” 1 Pet. 3:9. Paul warns us against “strifes of words.” 1 Tim. 6:5; 2 Tim. 2:14. Rash words may have as ill an effect—as those which are the fruit of a truly malignant design, in destroying the peace of families and of neighborhoods. “A whisperer separates chief friends,” Proverbs 16:28; and “an angry man stirs up strife.” Proverbs 29:22.

We cannot therefore be too guarded in our speech. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18:21. And every prudent man will pray, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips!” Psalm 141:3.

A godly man has said, Before we allow ourselves to find fault with any person behind his back, we should ask ourselves three questions:

1. Is it true?

2. Is it kind?

3. Is it necessary?

A little heart-searching, even a little reflection before a harsh speech, would effectually prevent much misery. John Newton says, “In mixed conversation, it is a good rule to say nothing, without a just cause—to the disadvantage of others.” Again, “I was once in a large company, where very severe things were spoken of Mr. W, when one person seasonably observed—that though the Lord was pleased to effect conversion and edification by a variety of means, he had never known anybody convinced of his sin or his error—by what was said of him behind his back. This was about thirteen years ago, and it has been on my mind a useful hint ever since.”
-Plumer, William S., Excerpt from Vital Godliness: A Treatise on Experimental and Practical Piety, 1864.

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