The Voice in Speech and Song


Chapter 25—Kinds of Negative Speaking

The Most Precious Seeds—Let us be careful what we say. The seed that drops from one mind into another should be the most precious seed, not a seed of murmuring and complaint.—Manuscript 18, 1895. VSS 123.1

Wrong Impressions—You cannot be too careful of what you say, for the words you utter show what power is controlling your mind and heart. If Christ rules in your heart, your words will reveal the purity, beauty, and fragrance of a character molded and fashioned by His will.... VSS 123.2

The Lord demands that our words be of the very best quality; that our tongues be truthful at all times. Any vestige of prevarication is an offense to Him. Every word we speak needs the most careful consideration, lest it mislead those who are weak in the faith. From the light which God has given me, I know that by your unadvised words you have left wrong impressions on the minds of some in Sydney, and much time will be needed to counteract the effects of these impressions. What you have thus expressed in words has not been true, but has been the result of your own imagination. No longer rely on a spurious spirituality.—Letter 69, 1896. VSS 123.3

A Precious Inheritance—God would have His people, in words and in deportment, declare to the world that no earthly attractions or worldly possessions are of sufficient value to compensate for the loss of the heavenly inheritance. Those who are truly children of the light and of the day will not be vain or frivolous in conversation, in dress, or in deportment, but sober, contemplative, constantly exerting an influence to attract souls to the Redeemer.... VSS 124.1

God enjoins upon all His followers to bear a living testimony in unmistakable language by their conduct, their dress and conversation, in all the pursuits of life, that the power of true godliness is profitable to all in this life and in the life to come; that this alone can satisfy the soul of the receiver.—Testimonies for the Church 4:580, 581. VSS 124.2

Pure Lives and Pure Speech—Not one word is to be spoken unadvisedly. No evil speaking, no frivolous talk, no fretful repining or impure suggestion, will escape the lips of him who is following Christ. The apostle Paul, writing by the Holy Spirit, says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.” Ephesians 4:29. A corrupt communication does not mean only words that are vile. It means any expression contrary to holy principles and pure and undefiled religion. It includes impure hints and covert insinuations of evil. Unless instantly resisted, these lead to great sin. VSS 124.3

Upon every family, upon every individual Christian, is laid the duty of barring the way against corrupt speech. When in the company of those who indulge in foolish talk, it is our duty to change the subject of conversation if possible. By the help of the grace of God we should quietly drop words or introduce a subject that will turn the conversation into a profitable channel.—Christ's Object Lessons, 337. VSS 124.4

Support of Law and Order—We are not required to defy authorities. Our words, whether spoken or written, should be carefully considered, lest we place ourselves on record as uttering that which would make us appear antagonistic to law and order. We are not to say or do anything that would unnecessarily close up our way. We are to go forward in Christ's name, advocating the truths committed to us.—The Acts of the Apostles, 69. VSS 125.1

Right Things—Please read the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. Great light is given in this chapter. The earnest prayer from the humble, contrite heart will be heard and answered. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” This we have a right to expect if we cooperate with God by consecrating ourselves, soul, body, and spirit to His keeping. No foolish talking or evilspeaking will then be heard. The tongue will utter right things.—The Review and Herald, January 25, 1898. VSS 125.2

Gossip, the Enemy's Work—How careful we should be to have our words and actions in harmony with the sacred truths that God has committed to us! ... When you are associated with one another, be guarded in your words. Let your conversation be of such a nature that you will have no need to repent of it.... If a word is dropped that is detrimental to the character of a friend or brother, never encourage this evilspeaking; for it is the work of the enemy. Remind the speaker that God's Word forbids this kind of conversation.—The Review and Herald, February 25, 1904. VSS 126.1

Effects of Improper Conversation—The sin of foolish talk is common among those who claim to believe the most solemn truths ever given to our world. Because of this commonplace, frivolous talk, the Spirit of the Lord is grieved away. Improper conversation is the reason of such a lack of faith and power among the people of God.—Letter 47, 1897. VSS 126.2

No Frivolity Nor Trifling—All frivolity, all cheapness of conversation, all jesting and joking, weakens the soul, and weans the heart from prayer. Like Paul, the true followers of Christ will ever bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus; they cannot keep in mind the sufferings of Christ for them, and yet be light and trifling.—Gospel Workers, 233, 1892 edition. VSS 126.3

Foolish Talk—But few realize that they drive away the Spirit of God with their selfish thoughts and feelings, their foolish, trifling talk.... If the grace of Christ were planted in their hearts, and striking its roots down deep into good soil, they would bear fruit of an altogether different character.... The converting power of God is alone sufficient to establish pure principles in the heart, so that the wicked one may find nothing to assail.... Purity in speech, and true Christian courtesy should be constantly practiced.—Sons and Daughters of God, 316. VSS 126.4

Account of Every Word—How many words are spoken in lightness and foolishness, in jesting and joking! This would not be so did the followers of Christ realize the truth of the words, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 4:1141. VSS 127.1

Unsanctified Words—The soul will never free itself to come into the clear, deep knowledge of the love of God until the speech is converted. The counterworking power of unsanctified, faithless, cheap words is the great hindrance to our prayers. God will draw nigh to every soul that will draw nigh to Him. But the Spirit of God will depart from those who leave the presence of God, and enter into vain conversation, speaking many words that are of no weight or purpose. The spiritual experience of such will stop abruptly.—Manuscript 74, 1897. VSS 127.2

A Stumbling Block to Sinners—This spirit of jesting and joking, of lightness and trifling, is a stumbling block to sinners and a worse stumbling block to those who give way to the inclination of the unsanctified heart.—Evangelism, 641. VSS 127.3

Gossip and Nonsense—The giddy laugh, the jesting, the joking, sickens the soul that is feeding on Christ. Cheap, foolish talk is painful to Him. With a humble heart read carefully 1 Peter 1:13-18. Those who enjoy talking should see that their words are select and well chosen. Be careful how you speak. Be careful how you represent the religion you have accepted. You may feel it no sin to gossip and talk nonsense, but this grieves your Saviour, and saddens the heavenly angels.—Fundamentals of Christian Education, 457. VSS 128.1

Vain Conversation—Listen to the vain, frivolous conversation; hear the laugh, the jesting, the joking. Is this imitating the Pattern? Still listen—is Jesus mentioned? Is the truth the theme of conversation? Are the speakers glorying in the cross of Christ?—Testimonies for the Church 1:505. VSS 128.2

Exaggerated Speech—Our thoughts produce our words and our words react upon our thoughts. If a man forms the habit of using sacred words reverently, he will form the custom of carefulness of speech, knowing that there is a Witness to every word uttered. When the feelings become excited and the speech is exaggerated, the mode of speaking is always extreme. It acts and reacts upon ourselves. VSS 128.3

The Word declares, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:37. If our words act upon ourselves they act more powerfully upon others. There is great mischief done by words spoken. God alone knows and measures the result of a careless, exaggerated mode of speaking. There is much swearing done in spirit.—That I May Know Him, 137. VSS 128.4

Meaningless Phrases and Expletives—God's Word condemns also the use of those meaningless phrases and expletives that border on profanity. It condemns the deceptive compliments, the evasions of truth, the exaggerations, the misrepresentations in trade, that are current in society and in the business world. “Let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: and whatsoever is more than these is of the evil one.” Matthew 5:37, R.V. VSS 129.1

“As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, so is the man that deceiveth his neighbor, and saith, Am not I in sport?” Proverbs 26:18, 19. VSS 129.2

Closely allied to gossip is the covert insinuation, the sly innuendo, by which the unclean in heart seek to insinuate the evil they dare not openly express. Every approach to these practices the youth should be taught to shun as they would shun the leprosy.—Education, 236. VSS 129.3

Judicial Oath—I saw that the words of our Lord, “Swear not at all,” do not touch the judicial oath. “Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” This refers to common conversation. Some exaggerate in their language. Some swear by their own life; others swear by their head—as sure as they live; as sure as they have a head. Some take heaven and earth to witness that such things are so. Some hope that God will strike them out of existence if what they are saying is not true. It is this kind of common swearing against which Jesus warns His disciples.—Testimonies for the Church 1:201. VSS 129.4