You Speech Betrayeth You

When the Savior stood before Caiaphas, the High Priest, Peter waited outside the palace. When a young woman approached him and said, "Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee," he denied it. Another came with the same observation and he denied it with an oath. Then others that stood by said to Peter, "Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech betrayeth thee," and he began to curse and swear, saying he did not know Jesus (Mat 26:69ff).

Peter's identity was confirmed by the way he spoke. Because of the way he pronounced his words — by his accent-those he was with knew he was from Galilee.

By our speech today, people can tell a lot about us, not just in a physical sense, but spiritually as well. Our speech can betray us. We may tell people we are Christians and citizens of God's kingdom, but our words will let them know where we are really from. We can be identified by our:

FILTHY SPEAKING: Christians are urged to put away, among other things, "filthy communication out of your mouth" (Col 3:8). A filthy mouth reveals a filthy mind, "...for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Mat 12:34). We may claim to be Christians, but if we tell dirty jokes and if we constantly use obscene "bathroom" words, our speech betrays us and our true identity is made known. The true Christian will think on things that are pure (Phi 4:8) and season his speech with salt (Col 4:6).

LYING: If we say we are Christians and do not always tell the truth, our speech betrays us. A lying tongue is an abomination in God's sight (Pro 6:16-19). We cannot say we are of Christ if we tell lies, for the devil is a liar and the father of lies (Jn 8: 44). "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor" (Eph 4:25). A child of God is to so speak and so do that he can be relied upon in every way.

MURMURINGS AND COMPLAININGS: Paul admonishes us not to murmur as did the Children of Israel when they wandered in the wilderness (I Cor 10:10). A Christian should rejoice in his relationship with his Heavenly Father. "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice" (Phi 4:4). The complainer lets everyone know his true identity.

BOASTING: "So the tongue also is a little member and boasteth great things (Jas 3:5). Bragging is contrary to Christianity and James says it is evil, but it is especially sad for one who claims to be a Christian to boast of the evil he does. When a young man brags about his illicit conquests, or a young woman shamelessly tells about going to night clubs and getting drunk, the cause of Christ is dealt a critical blow. "But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil" (Jas 4:16).

USING THE LORD'S NAME IN VAIN: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" (Ex 20:7). There are many things worthy of honor and respect. We honor the name of our parents and resent anyone's speaking of them disrespectfully. We respect the flag and are filled with indignation when men regard it lightly. How much more should we regard the name of the Lord our God with reverence and awe? One who uses it in any disrespectful and irreverent way identifies himself as one who does not honor his Heavenly Father.

EMPTY, WORTHLESS RELIGION: "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain" (Jas 1:26).