Put away from your crooked speech and put devious talk far from you. Proverbs 4:24
Last Wednesday, Thom Brennaman said something during a Reds game without realizing that his mic was on (at least his Fox radio mic was on). During the second game of the double-header, Brennaman apologized for what he had said and was taken off the broadcast. While what Thom said was certainly inappropriate, I wonder what kind of trouble each of us might be in if what we said was broadcast on radio/TV without us realizing the mic was on. Most of us do a pretty good job of covering up some of the wicked thoughts in our hearts. I think most of us fool ourselves into thinking we are more righteous than we really are. Isaiah specifies (Isaiah 64:6), “all our righteousness are as filthy rags.”
The Bible says (Jeremiah 17:9), “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” I believe that every part of our being is affected by sin (our heart, emotions, intellect, motives, etc.). Jesus cut it straight for us when He specified that for man “out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Since hearing Thom’s words, I have been thinking a little more about Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:36 where He warns, “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” I am reminded that even though our mic might not be hot and others might not hear what we say, God always hears and knows what we say and even more, He know what is in our hearts.
We have so many biblical warnings about how we use our tongues, specifically in regards to guarding what comes out of our mouths. Proverbs 21:23 says, “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” Proverbs 13:3 says, “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” James 3:8 says, “no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” We all know our tongue can be used for both good and evil. Proverbs 18:21 specifies, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
Paul exhorts us (Ephesians 4:29), “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” I want to be a little more intentional about guarding my tongue. Yes, we can apologize for what we say, but we know we can never take back the damage that we can do with our words. You’ve probably heard the analogy of tearing open a feather pillow and allowing all the feathers to blow in the wind and then trying to go collect all the feathers (which is impossible) and trying to stuff them back into the pillow. Let’s guard both our hearts and words. When in doubt, it is probably best to keep silent.
Finally, you know, I’m big on grace. God has given me grace upon grace. As His child, I want to have some family resemblance, and always be quick to offer grace to others. Just as I have needed (and wanted) grace to be extended to me for silly/wrong/evil things I have said, I hope Thom gets a little grace and forgiveness from others. I think it might be worthwhile to evaluate the question, “What if our mic was always hot?” What might we need to confess to God?
Let’s use our tongue to proclaim the good news of the gospel! There is nothing the world needs to hear more than what Jesus has done for us in dying for our sins!