‘Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. . . keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.’ Psalm 34.11-13
The first practical aspect of fearing the Lord concerns what we say. There are a number of ways in which we might be challenged in the area of speaking lies, even if we hope that this is something that does not apply to us.
One area is gossip. We may not equate gossiping with lying, but it certainly never tells the whole truth about someone or their situation; it is an incomplete truth passed on about someone else. Gossip never reveals the whole story, but only a detail. Another way in which we are prone to lie is in what we speak about ourselves. All too often we allow ourselves to repeat lies along the lines of: ‘I am useless’, ‘I can never be used by God’ and ‘I am unloved’. To use such phrases is to disregard the heart of God for us. If the fear of God is to take him seriously, then to speak the opposite of what he would speak about us is certainly not to value his heart.
The first step we can take in this journey towards fearing God is to honour others by speaking well of them and also to honour ourselves – it’s not a bad place to start!
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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