May 11 – Does Your Speech Give You Away?
Scripture Reading - Judges 12:1-13:25 / John 6:60-7:13 / Psalm 59:9-17
Dialects and accents are often a sure giveaway of our geographical residence. People from the heart of Alabama sound different than those from North Dakota. Those who live in the “hood” speak differently than those who live in the “country”. It is that way throughout every part of the United States – unique phrases, expressions and pronunciations.
This speech difference was apparent when there was unrest in Israel between the Gileadites and Ephraimites. The people of Ephraim were angry with the men of Gilead because they were not invited to the battle and victory over the Ammonites. So enraged, they vowed to destroy all the houses and people of Gilead. In their initial battle, the men of Gilead soundly defeated the pompous and vengeful Ephraimites. But it didn’t end there…
Gilead captured the fords at the Jordan River and killed the surviving Ephraimites who tried to cross the Jordan. The Gileadites had an ingenious plan to identify a fleeing Ephramite. Every man was simply asked to say the word “Shibboleth”. If they repeated it correctly they were allowed to pass over the Jordan but if they said “Sibboleth”, they killed them. Why? Because the Ephraimites could not prounounce the “Sh” and were easily identified. Amazingly, 42,000 Ephraimites were killed because of their speech.
I can’t help but wonder, do Christians speak and talk differently than the world? Is there a Christian dialect? I’m not referring to “Christian” phrases such as “Praise The Lord”. Sometimes believers speak a language that is foreign to our world. Unbelievers do not understand “Christian” terminology, and our “Christianese” is not the identifiable witness of our genuineness and faith.
Jesus said the world would know we are His followers by our love for one another. Are our words encouraging and uplifting or condemning and judgmental? Does our tone reveal a spirit of humility or pride? Does our language reflect the purity and holiness of God? Do we bless with our words or curse?
Complaining, combative, and cantankerous language is a dead give-a-way for the condition of a person’s heart. Would your speech expose you as a follower of Christ? Does your speech give you away?