The Spirit We Speak With
“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, You shall not kill, and whoever kills shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court. But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposted by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, You cursed fool! [You empty-headed idiot!] shall be liable to and unable to escape the hell (Gehenna) of fire.” (Matt. 5:21-22 amp)
With what spirit are we speaking? When we become angry, how do we react to the person who has angered us? Do we continue to speak out of a spirit filled with sin, or do we speak with a redeemed spirit? Calling someone names, even in anger, may make us feel better but we’re not acting out of a spirit filled with God’s Love–we’re not speaking to that person with Love. Yes, we’re human and we may slip, but we need to train ourselves to speak with Love even when we’re angry. If we do slip, then we need to seek the other person’s forgiveness with complete sincerity and repentance.
Reading this, I couldn’t believe how I had missed that something as simple as calling someone names was a big trespass to Love. I’d never thought of it before. How many times have I called someone an idiot or stupid? Even if they didn’t hear me, I’m still speaking that out. At a young age, I became aware of how cussing enhances anger, but never before had I thought about name calling. We are called to live by the Holy Spirit, Whose fruit includes: Love, Kindness, Goodness, and Self-Control. (Gal. 5:22-23) Name calling is not within any aspect of His fruit. We cannot speak both blessing and cursing in the same spirit. (James 3:9-10) We cannot call someone an Idiot for cutting us off on the way to church and then sing praises of love to our Father in the same spirit. We need to be aware with what spirit we are speaking, and name calling out of anger is not in the Spirit of God.
Cutting Off Paths to Sin
“If your right eye serves a s a trap to ensnare you or is an occasion for you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away. It is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be cast into hell (Gehenna). And if your right hand serves as a trap to ensnare you or is an occasion for you to stumble and sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better that you lose one of your members than that your entire body should be cast into hell (Gehenna).” (Matt. 5:29-30 amp)
If there is something in your life that is causing you to sin then it is a dead branch and needs to be pruned (cut out) out of your life. Better to prune something from your life than to fall down a path of sin that keeps you from God. We are called to live according to our new nature in Christ, to constantly be renewed, (Eph. 4:23-24) if there is something in our life, be it hobby, language, or something else, then we need to step away from that thing and leave it behind. No, it won’t always be easy, but when we are weak, God’s strength is still at work. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians:
“But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble mercifully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.”
Why is God’s strength most effective in our weakness? Because that’s usually the time when we let Him be strong for us. When we’re weak is usually the time when we realize that we need His strength the most. When it’s hard to cut something sinful out of our life, God gives us grace and strengthens us with His Spirit.
Do you notice when your speech flames your anger? How can you begin to speak with a Spirit of Love rather than one of sin? Are you letting God strengthen you in places where you feel weak? Are you letting God be the Gardener of your heart, even when it hurts?
You can read part one of my study on Matthew chapter 5 here.