LEARNING THE LESSON OF SPEECH FOR THE PROPER CHURCH LIFE
We may now return to Colossians 4:6. Why did the apostle put this verse in such a book? It is because this book deals with the Head, including the Body. We are members of the Body. In order to realize the proper church life, we have to learn the lesson of speech. There is no need to speak of a larger number of brothers and sisters; even among one hundred fifty or two hundred, consider what will happen if we do not learn the lesson of how to practice what is taught in Colossians 4:6. The more we come together, the more problems we will have. If this is the case, it is better for the Lord to make us dumb. We all have to learn the lesson to have our speech, our talk, and our conversation full of grace, full of Christ, and to have the words we speak seasoned, checked, by the cross concerning the motive, the source, and the position. May the Lord be merciful to us. If we are all willing to take this lesson, I assure you that after a short time our situation will be uplifted almost to the third heaven. Almost all the germs among us will be killed.
However, at this time the germs are spreading by our careless talk, by our speech that is not according to the lesson we should learn. We are fallen human beings. According to James 3, the hardest thing to bridle is the little tongue. The tongue is hard to control, and it is dangerous, setting on fire the course of life. Our human life, our self, is the match, and this match is set on fire by the tongue as an evil fire from Gehenna (v. 6). Therefore, in the church life, for the building of the Body, we all have to learn the lesson to deal with our speech. If we all learn this lesson, we will see that among us there is only the building up and not the tearing down. Otherwise, we may build up twelve feet one day, and tear down fourteen feet the next day. Simply by our talking we will tear down more than we build up. I believe that this is why the apostle Paul put verse 6 in Colossians 4. In order to have the proper church life, we have to learn this lesson.
LEARNING THIS LESSON BEING NECESSARY FOR GROWTH AND BUILDING
How much we can and will learn this lesson depends on how much we are willing to grow. The more we grow in the Lord, the more we will be careful in our talk. We can know whether or not a brother has truly grown by checking the way he talks. To grow in life does not mean to have more knowledge in our understanding. To grow in life means to be dealt with, controlled, and checked in many matters. According to the lessons I have learned, the first thing we must be checked in is our speech. If we are truly willing to grow, the first thing the Lord must check is our talking, particularly our motive, the source, and our position. Whether or not it is right to say something depends on these three things. If we cannot get through these three points, we should forget about saying anything. We must be pure in motive, right in source, and proper in position; then we can say something. If we cannot get through one of the points, though, we must be checked. We have to “stop the car” and not run ahead.
We all must learn the lesson. Then we will have the real growth. The building depends on growth, and growth is revealed by the way of our conversation. By their way of speaking, many brothers and sisters expose that they are childish, even babes. They prove nothing except that they have not grown any. I simply give you this word, and I would ask you to put it into practice. Even after one day you will see where you are. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” May the word we speak always be full of Christ, checked, controlled, and killed by the cross. We must learn this lesson; then we will see the growth, and we will realize the real building among us.
The more we mature, the more we will be careful in our speaking. There is no doubt about this. Even with the worldly people, the more they learn the lesson, the more careful they are in their speech. However, we are not learning the worldly lesson. We are learning the lesson for the building up of the church, the Body. We should always check whether it is profitable for the building of the church that we speak something in a certain way. I am afraid that although we are all here for the church life, we are too careless in speaking. This contradicts our purpose, because much careless talk has done much damage to the church life. Therefore, we all have to learn this lesson that we may grow, so that the real building up of the church might be realized.
(Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life, Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)