What if everything we spoke in secret was played over a loudspeaker each morning to everyone we know? Tzara’at (leprosy) is a spiritual sickness, not a physical one. No one today gets this moldy exposure in their homes, on their clothing, or skin. If this were available today, the world would be ridden with it because we have no filters. A curse word or a tattoo in my adolescence had a different meaning than today. But sometimes we can curse without saying one vulgar word. Sometimes we are marked with leprosy that no ink gun can give.
Yeshua was and is the Great Physician. One day he was sitting, eating, and drinking with the sick. Their sickness was not physical but spiritual. “And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His taught ones, “Why does He eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And hearing this, יהושע (Yeshua) said to them, “Those who are strong (healthy) have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners.” (Mark 2:16-17, ISR).
Have you ever been to the doctor and had a bad experience? Perhaps their bedside manner was not very refined, or they lacked compassion, empathy, or worse, they decided all your aliments were your fault or a figment of your imagination. They would not listen to your problems. They offered no oil for your bruises and no prescription for your pain. My husband used to have a family doctor who was obese. My husband was not feeling well. He had high stress on his job, high blood pressure, and multiple issues that had taken a toll on him. He was roughly 25-pounds overweight. His physician was a good 75 pounds overweight but was very stern with him and a tad sarcastic about his weight. He told my husband he needed to lose weight and start an exercise regimen. Was the doctor aware of his own condition? How can we see to get rid of a splinter in our neighbors’ eye if we have a plank in our own? Words are powerful. What if we had to pour our words through a water purification system before speaking them?
Questions to meditate on:
- How do we speak to the lost?
- Are we instructive on potions and herbs, diet and exercise they need to incorporate, but just as obese/sick as them?
- Are we compassionate to the sick and the sinner? Do we have empathy?
- Do we shame people who have not seen what we see with our words?
- Do we eat and drink with the sick or chastise them or even separate ourselves from the healthy like Peter did until Paul rebuked him? Paul rebukes him publicly because he had acted in a manner that led the rest of the congregation to think his behavior was okay. It was not a public post on social media but for the community who gathered there. (Galatians 2:11-21).
- Would a sick sinner want to share a meal with us or Invite us to a wedding?
- Do our lips have honey that is so sweet from His Word that others want to learn? How we speak to the sick tells a lot about us. If the sick need a doctor, doctors must go to medical school to wear a white coat and get a certificate. This can take over a decade. We can be called to be a doctor but lack schooling and a correct bedside manner.
- Are we a doctor that cannot speak in layman’s terms? Do we listen to answer, or do we hear the heart cries of the sick?
- Do we know when to go to our brother or sister, private or publicly in our community?
- Who did Yeshua chastise?
“The Hebrew word for a prophet, navi ( Nun-Beit-Yod-Alef) comes from the term niv sefatayim meaning “fruit of the lips,” which emphasizes the prophet’s role as a speaker.”
Fruit of the lips: Take a seed and plant it in the earth. Water the seed and make sure it is planted where it can get sunlight. It will grow, but what kind of fruit will it produce? Jeremiah said, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts” (Jeremiah 12:1-2).
A good tree cannot produce bad fruit. A bad tree cannot produce good fruit. Yeshua went on to explain, we will know them by their fruit. How? I once bought a beautiful pink lady apple. I brought it home and cut into it, and the inside was rotten. Fruit can be deceiving. This apple had the appearance of beauty to the eye of the beholder but was rotten to the core.
Picture a carnival and the sledgehammer game.
“A high striker, also known as a strength tester, or strongman game, is an attraction used in funfairs, amusement parks, fundraisers, and carnivals. It operates by utilizing the lever where one end holds a puck attached to the tower and the other end is struck by the person or contestant using a hammer or mallet. The aim of players is to ring the bell suspended on top of the tower. If the lever is struck with enough force, the puck will rise high enough to hit the bell, indicating a success.” (Wiki)
Are we high strikers, striking the cheeks of the sick, the lost, the immature person we used to be? Our words can strike with such force they are received like a hammer. Adonai’s word is a hammer breaking the rocks in pieces, but are we using our words in a manner where we think the bell ringing is a sign of strength when its actual weakness?
Examples with sarcasm/pride: “I really told them!” Boy, I let them have it with my political/ spiritual knowledge.” “I set those Christians straight about how they are not saying His Name correct, keeping His Calendar, Feasts, etc.” “I told them they were celebrating pagan holidays and full of evil.” “Yes, I pointed out all their wicked ways, as I was instructed to do just that by the Holy Spirit.” Hmm. Really?
Are we suffering from the strong man?
Has anyone ever changed a person’s mind by posting a nasty meme or a post with condemnation? Even Nathan knew a parable about a little ewe lamb would have more weight than his finger-pointing. He spoke for Adonai. He did not slander David all over the Kingdom but went to him in private. Even David’s enemy, Saul, hunting him down with an army daily, was spoken of by David at death with honor and respect, but many today will murder a dead man with their lips. David could have said “Praise Yah! that no good, lying, witch of Endor seeking sinner is dead!” Instead, he said this:
“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life,
And in their death they were not parted;
They were swifter than eagles,
They were stronger than lions.
“O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
Who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet,
Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.” (II Samuel 1:23-24).
How to speak involves many layers. In the Book of Timothy, we see a list of words for leadership to follow. “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and encourage with every form of patient instruction” (II Timothy 4:2).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law “(Galatians 5:22-23, BSB).
Rebuke: “The definition of rebuke = to scold or criticize or reprimand someone for their actions.
“You shall surely rebuke your neighbor and incur no sin because of this person” (Leviticus 19:17). But who is our neighbor?
Knowing who, when, how, and why to rebuke is the key. “To correct a troublemaker or rebuke a wicked person is to bring down abuse on oneself. Do not rebuke a scoffer, for that person will hate you. Reprove a wise person, and that person will love you.” (Proverbs 9:7-8)
“Those who rebuke find favor and a good blessing falls upon them.” (Proverbs 24:25)
“Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed.”
A loving friendship that never has rebuke (correction) is really not a friendship. But rebuking involves mercy and tact, and receiving a rebuke involves humility. A mocker such as King Ahab, who rebuked Elijah, was given a sterner rebuke back. His blaming the prophet for famine and calling him a troublemaker was due to his lack of looking in a mirror.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:5-6).
Septuagint, “More to be trusted are the wounds of a friend than the spontaneous (ἑκούσια) kisses of an enemy.”
Judas seals the deal with a kiss. We often picture Judas as the evil villain, but he was right there listening, collecting baskets of bread and fish, watching blind eyes open, and yes, betraying the Son of God and then hanging himself. The villain in Esther hanged himself too by his own cords.
(Proverbs 14:1) “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.” Remember, a hand in Hebrew is also a mouth.
Are we hanging ourselves due to our words?
Have you ever kissed someone and then betrayed them? Have we as a Body allowed a spirit of Judas to live in our hearts? Have you ever wounded a friend? Did the friend, like Peter, need wounding? Did you do it in front of the group or go around behind Peter’s back and whisper about how immature he acted. How he isn’t fit for leadership? That would have been more harmful than correcting him in front of them. The darkness is exposed to light; Peter can repent and do what he should have been doing. The matter ends. No one needs to gossip about Peter. We better start getting this right. It is past time!
The harlot seals the deal with a kiss too.
“And there a woman met him,
With the attire of a harlot and a crafty heart.
She was loud and rebellious,
Her feet would not stay at home.
At times she was outside, at times in the open square,
Lurking at every corner.
So she caught him and kissed him”
Has Abba Father kissed you with the kisses of His Mouth, or has the harlot enticed you with her lips? HOW we speak tells others who we have been kissing, how we’ve been kissing, and where we’ve been kissing.
There are many ways to say something. How we speak, when, where, and to whom matters.
For example: If I wanted to teach children raised to wear Velcro shoes how to tie shoelaces, I could illustrate this by retying my shoes and giving instructions and examples of why lacing one’s shoes is the better way to go. First, I want to show how this simple teaching can go wrong due to words. Then I want you to imagine how a simple post to correct, reprove, and rebuke someone concerning their beliefs, both political and spiritual, can go wrong. As you read about Velcro and laces, think Torah/ think Christianity, and if you must, think politics.
1st Example: (Unfiltered)
What are people thinking? Are they taking their children hiking in Velcro shoes? Have you ever seen the military wearing Velcro boots? Even an idiot knows correctly laced shoes provide better support than poorly-fastened Velcro straps. The Martin family lets their kids wear Velcro. I saw them wearing Velcro the other day, even the 12-year-old. What kind of parents are they? Don’t they know it’s shameful? They are harming their children’s feet. And then they want to try and correct me on my children’s behavior. Have you ever?
2nd Example: (Filtered)
I feel teaching my five-year-old son to lace his shoes is essential. He will be an adult one day, and Velcro shoes may not exist then, plus Velcro shoes may not work on the job. He may need steel-toed boots or wing-tipped dress shoes. Research shows that correctly laced shoes provide better support. Velcro may come undone during track, rock climbing, or other sports. Laces fit different foot shapes better and are less likely to cause pain in general because the shoe is tightened across the foot’s entire length. I was raised wearing Velcro shoes and was taught that tying shoes was outdated and done away with. I was told it was just more work for me as a mom to teach my child to tie his shoes, but now he can tie up his boots, jacket string, make a square knot, and a fisherman’s knot. I am proud of his accomplishments, and I hope you will purchase a pair of laced shoes for your child.
How we speak also involves who is in front of us, our audience.
Who is in front of you? Is it a broken woman with an alabaster box of perfume that the leaders consider a whore? A child (this can be a newborn believer or a literal child) is a demonized man in a graveyard who cuts himself? Is it a leader who is harsh and judgmental? Is it a leper? A friend? A drug addict. A king (David/ Nathan). A politician (Herod). An educated scholar? The list goes on and on. If we were to travel to Spain today and sit in a cafe, we would need to know how to speak Spanish to get the type of coffee and dessert we wanted unless our server spoke our language. If we speak Chinese and order it in our native tongue, chances are the Spaniard will not understand. Early in my ministry, I posted a small teaching on my facebook wall. A family member inboxed me and said, “I love to read your post, but lately I can’t understand anything you’re saying. I have to look up almost every other word and I am at work and don’t have time.” The Apostle Paul said something that needs to be meditated on with much thought. First, he told them if they were speaking in tongues without a translator, no one would understand them. Have you ever heard a clanging pot and pan fall un-expectantly?
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and exult in the surrender of my body, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (I Cor. 13:1-3).
Many will argue that they are using love in some of their videos, post, memes, etc. to correct others, but I must say we all need to taste our words. We need to ask ourselves who we are speaking to. Are we talking to a child? A newborn baby? A brand-new believer? Are we speaking to Christians, Messianic or unbelievers? Are we trying to speak to all of these on social media without thought that our audience is full of different people on different levels and journeys?
Are we speaking to leadership? Do we honor leadership? Have we appointed ourselves to be police officers who must expose everyone else’s actions and beliefs we deem wrong or wicked? Even the dead? Police represent authority, but authority must be trained. We may need a change of heart, especially if we compare ourselves as righteous and only see others as way below on our ruler and standard we have defined as holy—set apart. If we are yelling at people to repent and pointing at them, separating ourselves from anyone who has made an error, we may want to pull the plank out of our eye so we can see to remove the speck in our brother’s eyes. Yeshua and Paul know their audience when they speak.
Paul said, “Or do you not know, brethren for I am speaking to those who know the law/ Torah.” (Romans 7:1). Paul was speaking to an audience in this passage who knew the Father’s Torah/ Law. Some people do not have an understanding of His Torah, or they may have been taught it was nailed to the cross. Many times, these same people are keeping many portions of it. David can help us understand His Torah.
“O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
For they are ever mine.
I have more insight than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged,
Because I have observed Your precepts.
I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.
I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,
For You, Yourself have taught me.
How sweet are Your words to my taste!” (Psalm 119:97-103).
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” His Words are sweeter than honey, but are ours?
At one point, Yeshua explains that certain people are blind and deaf. He gives those who knew Torah an antidote to being healed after he restores a blind man’s sight. “If you were blind, you would have no sin. But since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains” (John 9:41). What did He possibly mean here?
They say, “we are not blind–We see!” We see His Torah. We see our righteousness. We see–we are not like that sinner over there. We fast twice a week. We dress modestly. We do not keep Halloween. We do not keep Sunday. We don’t wear pants. We don’t smoke or chew or even say the curse words listed in the Bible. Oh, we think we see ourselves, but do we see the naked, sick, hungry, and broken soul created in His image that’s standing before us in need of oil and not condemnation. Do we see the Messiah we claim lives inside of us? Are we like Him?
After Yeshua cast out demons, the leaders and scholars said he did this by the prince of demons.
Who was He harsh with? When was He harsh? Why was He harsh at that moment? Yeshua answers the leaders like this:
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers (seed of the woman/seed of the serpent)! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Yeshua spoke differently to the sick, the demonized in the graveyard, and even the leader who met with him in private. Would you place a 1st grader in a class with an 8th grader? Would an English professor speak to her English Literature class in the same way as her GED class? Do you speak to babies in the same manner of speech as you would your counselor? If you are posting or saying words that are sharp, unpolished, sour, bitter, judgmental, arrogant, or angry, who are they healing that is sick? When Paul spoke sharply with rebuke, it was to those who knew the Torah or were learning it. They were cheating on their wives, getting drunk at the gatherings, and doing things worse than those of the world. We must know our audience. And yes, there have been times when the Father had me post something that those who are of the world did not understand. I have also been guilty of posting things out of anger, a judgmental attitude, self-righteousness, ignorance, and words that sure could have used some ajax and sandpaper. Laying things aside for a day or two and rereading what we want to say after calming down or praying on it may bring enlightenment. One may even decide they no longer need to say what they thought they did. And sometimes, we can reword it better after some time away from it.
I hope this blog helps us all think before we grab our keyboard or microphone. Remember what comes out of our mouths, lives in our hearts. Please check out Grace in Torah’s message called Taste Your Words HERE.
In Part Two, we will look at how to answer a fool in his folly and more.
Sources: all Photos by Zoltan Tasi, Lesley Juarez, Engin Akurt, Nina strehl,
Camila Damásio, except high striker.