Â Use clean language that no one can criticize. Do this, and your enemies will be too ashamed to say anything against you.Titus 2:8 MSG
Â I was asked recently if I would like to know what people think of me. After pondering it for a while I said no. The compliments are nice, but the criticism takes a little longer to digest. You usually glow when someone compliments you, but you have an opportunity to grow when someone criticizes you. Even though we donâ€™t like criticism, it can be a significant help in our maturing process. It causes us to begrudgingly rethink what we did or saidâ€¦and (hopefully) attempt to correct it.
Perhaps this is one of the points that Titus was trying to make when he suggested using clean language. He also seemed to suggest in this passage that most of our criticism comes as a result of what we say rather than what we do.
In Matthew 12:36 it says, â€śAnd I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgmentâ€ť. Maybe the idle words that Matthew is talking about have the same meaning as what Titus is speaking of. Nevertheless the point is well taken, letâ€™s clean up our idle talk.
Having said that, I am sure God gives special liberties to those in cases such as the following one. Many years ago, as I was holding a revival meeting in East Texas, I had an experience that remains one of my favorite stories to this day. Each night in the message I would share a personal story as an example to support my preaching point.
Â There were two old men who faithfully sat on the second pew next to the center aisle on the left hand side of the church. They patiently listened to my message and waited for the accompanying story they knew would follow. Finally the last night of the revival meeting one old man turned and said to the other as I finished telling a story, â€śDo you really believe all that stuff ? He would have to be four hundred years old to have done all that.â€ť The answer quickly came back from the other old man, â€śI donâ€™t believe a word of it, but I sure like to hear him tell those stories.â€ť After the service they both went up and told the pastor of the church what they had been talking about. When the pastor told me, he and I had a great laugh.
Â What is the point? There seems to be two kinds of idle words. The idle words that were spoken by the two old men in East Texas were not what Matthew and Titus were talking about. The old menâ€™s idle words were harmless. The idle words that Matthew and Titus were talking about were words of judgment and criticism. They were words that rob life rather than give life.
There are also two kinds of criticism. The first kind of criticism is the condemning kind which is meant to destroy. The other kind of criticism is the building of character kind of criticism which produces life and perfection.
I thank you for life-producing criticism because it helps perfect me in areas I need help. You said in Isaiah 61: 5 that you would send strangers to dress my vineyard. Thank you for sending help even when I am not looking for it. You are perfecting my language each day so that no one will have to say, â€śDo you really believe all that stuff ?â€ť
Â Apostle John Dean Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved
Alliance International Ministries