Maturity to Speak

Just as we must learn to listen to the criticism, advice and teaching of others, we must also learn how to speak into the lives of others.  How we speak is as much an indication of maturity as how we listen.  The Bible gives very specific direction to those who speak into others lives whether it is teaching the Word or confronting sin.

Someone who speaks into the life of another person must be wise.   Proverbs 24:6 says, “For by wise guidance you shall wage war, and in the abundance of counselors there is victory.” [1]  Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”   Speaking into another’s life requires the credibility of wisdom.  God-fearing reverence and knowledge of God through His Word should characterize our lives.

When we are confronting others over sin, we must be very careful.  As Jesus pointed out, before we try to get the speck out of someone else’s eye, we need to make sure there isn’t a beam sticking out of our eye.  This does not mean, as some may suggest that we should never go after the speck.  It only means that we should take time to check our lives first.

Another thing that we have to guard against is pride.  Speaking into the life of another presumes a right to speak and knowledge that another does not have or at the very least is not aware of.  Therefore, we must be humble, and above all, we must have the good of the other person as our motive for speaking. In Ephesians 4:29, Paul admonished us, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

So, it is a good idea before we teach the Word of God, confront others about sin or seek to correct the doctrine of others that we take time to examine ourselves.  Are we walking in wisdom?  Are we covering sin in our own life?  Are we proud?  Do we have the edification of the other person as our goal?

[1] All references are from the New American Standard Bible.


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