Summary: Final sermon in a series on the use and abuse of the tongue.
As I prepared for today’s sermon, I must confess to you that the original title I had in mind was “Making God Mad.” I felt that this was a sermon that I felt I was especially qualified to preach given the fact that I was sure my behavior had frustrated my heavenly Father on many an occasion.
But upon further reflection, I felt that it would be more profitable for us to think together, not about the obvious message of this text, but its un¬derlying message. What are the things that make God glad?
As we look over this list of things hated by God, we not that three of them have to do with our use of the tongue. God hates “a lying tongue,” “a false witness,” and “a person who stirs up dissension.” But the other four also could be taken to involve the misuse of one’s tongue.
“Haughty eyes” refers to pride, which is often expressed in words that criticize others.
The mention of “shedding innocent blood,” or murder, reminds us of the words of our Lord, who warned against the destructive nature of our words when He said, “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother, ’idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hell fire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.” - Matthew 5:21-22 (The Message)
Obviously, if one is to carry out the “wicked schemes” devised by the heart, it will often involve the misuse of the tongue.
And more often than not, the “evil that our feet are quick to rush into,” will involve words we say about or to others.
So it is that through our misuse of the tongue, we can disappoint and disgust our heavenly Father. This is something we can all readily recognize.
But how about bringing our heavenly Father delight? The underlying lesson of this passage is that there are seven things that brings joy to God and make Him glad; and all seven involve the use of our tongue.
If we want to make God glad, we should make sure our words . . .
1. Reveal humility – “haughty eye”
We are told that God hates “haughty eyes.” A prideful heart is revealed by prideful words, which are often directed toward others in the form of criticism and “put downs.” This makes God mad. But what makes God glad is to see a heart of humility demonstrated revealed by words that are designed to bless and encourage others.
A heart of humility is not one that is depreciates self, but is one that appreciates self. One who has a humble heart understands that apart from Christ, they are nothing (John 15:5) but that God has a plan for them and can use them if they depend on His strength (Philippians 4:13).
They are secure in the love of their Father. Therefore, they do not need to put down others to feel better about themselves. Instead, they can speak words that make others feel better about themselves.
Paul tells us that a focus on the needs of others is a direct result of a humble heart.
“Nothing should be done because of pride or thinking about yourself. Think of other people as more important than yourself. Do not always be thinking about your own plans only. Be happy to know what other people are doing.” - Philippians 2:2-3 (NLV)
“Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.” - Philippians 2:2-3 (NLT)
I have heard it said that there are two ways to enter a room: Some enter a room and say, "Here I am!" While others enter a room and say, "There you are!" Now, which person are you glad to see? It’s the same with God, he like to see me demonstrating humility through conversation that is focused on the other person’s needs and interests, not just my own.
By the way, the Bible tells us that humility is a choice. James tells us, “Humble yourselves” - James 4:10a. I also make God glad when I . . .
2. Relate honestly – “a lying tongue”
The book The Day America Told the Truth says that 91 percent of those surveyed lie routinely about matters they consider trivial, and 36 percent lie about important matters; 86 percent lie regularly to parents, 75 percent to friends, 73 percent to siblings, and 69 percent to spouses.