O be careful, little eyes, what you see; ears what you hear; mouth what you say; hands what you do; feet where you go; and heart whom you trust. That is a chorus for children, but the reminder is needed no matter our age. Probably one of the hardest things to guard is what we say, whether it be with our mouths or our signs. Words can heal or they can hurt. In some Fantastic Saturdays, we played a game called “Gossip.” Many hearing people have played the game before, but it is so much better with signers (whether hearing or Deaf). The game starts with signing a sentence to the first person. He then repeats it to the next person, who repeats it again, until the last person sees it, and then signs the sentence to the whole crowd. Of course, the final message is never the same as the original. This is fun for the whole audience because, with signing, everyone can see how the message changes from person to person. “Gossip” can be a fun game, but in real life, gossip can hurt people, destroy their reputations, and break up friendships. The Bible warns often against gossip – and lies, angry words, deceitful words, unkind words, filthy words, cursing, taking the Lord’s name in vain, and much more. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth” (Ephesians 4:29).
That verse continues, letting us know the type of communication we should have – not corrupt (rotten, bad), “but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Here the word “grace” means communication that gives joy or delight; that is sweet, lovely, kind; that helps bring people to Christ and strengthens them, increases their faith, and helps them to follow Christ. Wow! Christians have a big responsibility with their words/signs. What kind of words will help others and bring that grace to them? Our communication should be full of phrases like “I love you. God loves you. Thank you. I forgive you. I appreciate you. You are valuable to God. You give me joy. You have wonderful talents and abilities. Use them for God. I am praying for you.” The most important conversation you may have today is to share the Gospel with someone. Today, use your word/signs to help, not hurt, people.