Friday, January 27, 2017

Your words = your character

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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Psalm 15:1-5

“Who may abide in Your tabernacle? … He who … speaks truth in his heart.” Psalm 15:1,2

In this short psalm, titled in my Bible “The Character of Those Who May Dwell with the LORD,” it is interesting to note how many of these items that show off character involve speech.

A person of good character, according to David, demonstrates it largely by what he or she says and doesn’t say. A person of good character:
  • Cultivates a truthful heart.
Character starts with what we say to ourselves: “LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? … He who … speaks truth in his heart” (Psalm 15:1,2). We must begin by speaking honestly with ourselves and, from that inner place, acknowledge and agree with God in what He says about Himself and us.

  • Does not “backbite with his tongue” - Psalm 15:3.
The Amplified Bible renders “backbite” “slander”: “He who does not slander with his tongue” - Psalm 15:3 AMP.

  • Does not “take up a reproach against a friend” - Psalm 15:3.
A “reproach” (noun) means blame, censure, disgrace, discredit. The person with character shows his/her character by refusing to receive such blame, censure, disgrace, discredit (what we might call gossip) about his friend or neighbor and then pass it on.

  • Honors good people, specifically “those who fear the LORD” - Psalm 15:4.
This honor could be shown with actions but certainly could involve words too.

  • “… swears to his own hurt and does not change” - Psalm 15:4.
A sidebar article in my Bible rephrases this as a personal application:Honor commitments and your word even when it is costly to do so” - Leslyn Musch, Truth-In-Action-Through Psalms, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 719.

Despite the saying “Actions speak louder than words,” judging by how often speech is mentioned in this character-defining psalm, what we say or don’t say is undeniably important in displaying our own and discerning another’s character. We do well to ask ourselves, what do my words tell me, what do they tell you of my character?

Dear Lord, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart / Be acceptable in Your sight, / O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). Amen.

 Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified® Bible. Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." (

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