Read James 3:3-12 —Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

I know that gossiping and speaking ill of others is a sin, yet I still fall into this behavior constantly—and even blame others for my failure. If that co-worker were not so annoying, I would not complain about her to others. If only my neighbor would bring her dog in when he was barking, I wouldn’t talk to the other neighbors about her inconsiderate behavior. The truth is I make the choice to speak ill of others because that’s easier than being loving and kind.

In Titus 3:2, we are told “to speak evil of no one” and “to show every courtesy to everyone.” Sure, it’s easy to love our neighbor when our neighbor is kind, caring, and easy to get along with. But the people in our lives who are hard to love are often the ones who need love the most. Maybe my annoying co-worker is dealing with a difficult personal situation. Maybe the neighbor with the barking dog is working a second job because of financial problems. We are commanded by God to love, not to judge. Thankfully, God knows we are imperfect and forgives us when we fail to speak lovingly to others. All we can do is keep trying and keep praying for strength to succeed in speaking lovingly to and about everyone.

Prayer—O Lord, help us have only kind words for others as we remember how to love us. Amen.

Thought for the Day—“Be kind, compassionate and forgiving to each other” (Eph. 4:32, CEB).

April Rowland (Missouri)