As we continue to look in on Jesus walk to Jerusalem with his followers he has a lot to say about the dangers of what we say; are we careful or careless speakers?
 … Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God.  But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.
 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,  for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say .”
Luke 12:1-12 NIV
I think there are five different occasions when Jesus says we should watch what we say:
Does what we do measure up to the things we say?
Making claims about what we believe and how we live must be echoed in the way we live out those beliefs. People in positions of leadership and responsibility will always be under the spotlight of public scrutiny…and people will be quick to overlook years of integrity for a moment of indiscretion. We all make mistakes and slip up some times, but if we are really just wearing a mask or putting on a front it will be seen through. Hypocrisy is never attractive and does harm to the reputation of Jesus.
Do we say things about people and situations in private that we would never say in public?
I confess that there are times I’ve been caught out. Someone or something is getting under my skin and after I vent my feelings I discover that others were listening in, or the people in whom I confided were not as discreet and trustworthy as I though. Better not to have said it, or to have found the right time to say it kindly to the person who needed to hear.
Do we take God’s loving care for granted, and speak disrespectfully about him?
Go really cares about us. He knows us better than we know ourselves and he still loves us. We should never allow God’s love, grace and forgiveness to be something we take for granted. Sometimes the jokes we tell, the things we say about others who worship differently to us and the way we go about our life of prayer, worship, work and witness demonstrates our lack of respect for the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit
Are we ever tempted to attribute something God is doing to the forces of evil?
This takes us back to my post on “God-talk” and “Devil-talk” from Day seven. The ‘unforgivable sin’ has often been a topic of worry and speculation. I think that what Jesus is saying is that if you say that something that is a work of the Holy Spirit actually has an evil source, and do it often enough, you cease to be open to the possibility of recognising truth and possessing life…you become incapable of receiving the forgiveness that Jesus freely offers. Once again, we need one another to bring love and discernment to bear when this stats to happen.
Do we get tripped up by our own ‘cleverness’ instead of relying on Jesus’ help when we find ourselves in difficult places and being asked tricky questions?
We plan and prepare, we rehearse it over and over in our heads and we try to visualise every scenario possible. Then, from the moment we open our mouths we realise that we don’t know what to say or how to say it in the situation, and with the people, that we find ourselves in. Preparation is legitimate, but it’s now substitute for a living relationship with Jesus, who stands with us in our difficult times and brings the right things to say and do to our minds.
 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:13 (NIV)