Back in 2003 John C Maxwell had published a little book with a challenging title for some “There’s No Such Thing as Business Ethics” with a dedication reading “This book is dedicated to you for your commitment to making ethical decisions and living an ethical life. Doing the right thing may not always be easy – but it is always right.” He bases his arguments on what has been called The Golden Rule - “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12
Through the twists and the turns of the year that we have seen in our nation from the fires through to Covid-19 we have had one certainty “we can trust in the Lord”, amongst the many verses in scripture this one is often spoken in these days “I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.” Psalms 91:2-3
However, through the lockdowns and changed working conditions some relationships – marriages and families have been put under great pressure as they try to manage/juggle both husband and wife working at home and then home schooling and or jobs being lost. To add to this couples have seen or more likely heard a different part of their spouses character – the way they speak with work colleagues or clients. Maybe a different tone of voice, more chatty or more tolerant and the list of differences can be great. It is these differences that can start to highlight problems or be a cause of aggravation and or hurt. It is very easy for us to develop a different character for our work place, for our family and within our church – this is all part of what John Maxwell was writing about, we should have one standard of ethics, that we have one set of rules or standards for right conduct or practice and that is Gods standard.
One of the biggest areas where we are likely to deviate is in our communication as we know communication is more than just our talking and the words that we use. Some while ago it was reported that a group of junior High Schoolers in the USA came up with this definition for ‘communication’: “Communication is talking without a wall building up. Its hearing what was said and knowing what was meant. Sometimes it involves a look, or a touch, with no words at all. Its sharing in such a way that the other person really understands what you are saying. Listening is the hardest part of communication”
A lot is at stake in what we communicate [and in a lot of the world this includes hands that sms, type paint or sign]. As Proverbs 18:21 tells us “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”.
Deaths can occur because of words spoken. Tongues can bring about death on a large scale – a weapons of mass destruction – causing the start of war and civil unrest. Tongues can also bring death to marriages, families, relationships, churches, careers, hopes, understanding, reputations, missionary efforts, and governments.
But through the tongue life can be given - it can be “a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:4); it can bring reconciliation and peace and make peace. “The peacemakers are blessed, ..” (Matthew 5:9). Tongues can make marriages flourish, strong, robust families, and healthy churches, communities, nations. Tongues can bring hope to the despairing, increase understanding, and spread the gospel.
Much is said in scripture about how we should speak and how we should communicate, and this should be our standard in all parts of our life. The tongue is a powerful part of communication and should be used for good otherwise it should be bridled.