Wow, I've been MIA! Actually, I've been bailing. Bailing water from the basement after the bad storms that blew through last Sunday evening. We've been keeping the fans on it and almost have it dried up and readied to spray for mold. So, now you know.
Now it's time to return to our Worth study. We get to move along to the R which stands for restraint - things we are warned to stay away from or not to do.
The first warning we are given in Titus 2 is not to be slanderers. Slander is a false report maliciously uttered and tending to injure the reputation of a person.
We can see this in different ways. One form of slander is gossip. People want to say that they are just telling facts and not spreading gossip, but the gossiper has some information they just must share. This information isn't about herself or himself but about someone else. Most of the time it is an interesting tidbit and the gossiper has the upper hand when getting the opportunity to share it first.
Here's a good test: Would I still share this information if the person I was speaking of was standing here beside me? If the answer is no, it might just be gossip. Because if you wouldn't share in front of the subject of your gossip then there must be some reason your news would hurt them or embarrass you. Thus, "tending to injure the reputation of a person" from our definition.
Of course, we often just boldly speak to others in rude and degrading ways. As Christians we are to use our words to build others up, not tear them down. How often in the Word are we told to love one another? Jesus Himself in John 15 gives the command: "Love each other as I have loved you."
Jesus set the example of how to love others. He said loving and encouraging words and showed love through His actions. He went as far as to give His very life out of love for us. We are to love in this same manner.
We must show restraint over the words we utter about others. I can remember growing up and hearing my mother say, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." This usually came when my brother and I were in a yelling spree. But, isn't there truth there that we could heed?
If what you're going to say isn't loving or doesn't build up the other person, just bite your tongue. We could all use a little more tongue-biting and a lot less back-biting!