Often in relationships we say sloppy, unhelpful, desire-driven things to one another because there is nothing in the Bible explicitly forbidding it, because there is immediate satisfaction from saying it (like scratching an itch), because we are materialists and don’t believe anything bad will happen to us for saying it, because we are thinking in the back of our minds that God will forgive us.
When we do this day after day, our Christian life becomes a sham, a fabric honeycombed with moth holes. Small, incalculable damages are done to the soul each time, but we are unaware.
“Strangers devour his strength, and he knows it not; gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, and he knows it not” (Hosea 7:9).
We never feel very good, of course, but don’t understand the strange disconnect between our theology and our reality. If the condition continues, we are low hanging fruit for all manner of the devil’s temptations, going all the way from sleeping through Sunday mornings to adultery to ditching the faith.
What is at the root of sloppy speech and sloppy living? Francis Schaeffer wrote in True Spirituality:
“A man may lack in sanctification all that God means him to have in the present life because even though Christ has purchased it for him on the cross he fails to believe God at this place. … There are oceans of grace which wait. Orchard upon orchard waits, vineyard upon vineyard of fruit waits. There is only one reason why they do not flow out through the Christian’s life, and that is that the instrumentality of faith is not being used.”
“Faith in what?” you ask. Faith in every Word of God—faith that God is the living God who sees (Genesis 16:13), faith that God releases blessing on obedience and not on moral sloppiness (Deuteronomy 28:2), faith that our growth is related to our obedience (2 Corinthians 3:18), faith that we will be judged for every careless word we utter (Matthew 12:36), faith that God will use our tongues to do His work only if we make a determined habit of speaking worthy things (Jeremiah 15:19).
Speech is an integral and neglected part of salvation (Romans 10:9). Let us strive to build up our spouses with our words, and not say to ourselves that what we say doesn’t matter. Or, “What is the profit of our keeping his charge?” (Malachi 3:14)