THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2014
SPEAK NO EVIL
Psalm 145:2-3,10-11,12- 13
We are empowered to witness. We witness by our holy lives,
and we witness by our words proclaiming the gospel. We are
empowered precisely for this. In turn, it is when we do such
witness that we continue to be empowered.
looking to holiness of life, “put to death, then, the
parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion,
evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.” (Col 3:5).
How indeed can we be empowered when “because of these
the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.” (Col
there should be no problem with any one of us regarding avoiding
these earthly acts. But here is the problem: our tongue and
our speech. These are intended to speak the gospel on behalf
of Christ and to express love to brethren, but many, even
Christian leaders, at times speak with “anger, fury,
malice, slander, and obscene language out of (their) mouths.”
(Col 3:8b). Oftentimes these are directed against brethren,
within the context of the community’s work. People become
judgmental. People malign others. People even spread malicious
words and influence others to think negatively about those
they don’t like. Paul says emphatically: “But
now you must put them all away” (Col 3:8a).
Christians, and especially Christian leaders, we should already
“have taken off the old self with its practices and
have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator.” (Col 3:9b-10). Does the
Creator-God malign others? Never! We were made in the image
and likeness of God, but with sin were badly tarnished, no
longer recognizable. “By these you too once conducted
yourselves, when you lived in that way.” (Col 3:7).
But now, having experienced transformation in Christ, we are
being restored and renewed in that image. We must tame the
tongue, especially as what comes out of our mouths expresses
the condition of our hearts. We cannot witness effectively
unless our hearts, and our mouths, are pure.
we have something negative against a brother or sister, we
have ways of handling that, like dealing directly in private,
like seeking dialogue, like not being judgmental, like wanting
only the good of the other and not simply to have our own
way, like always trying to protect relationships and the very
life of the community. In order not to succumb to the ways
by which the world handles disagreements, we must always look
to Jesus. “If then you were raised with Christ, seek
what is above, .... Think of what is above, not of what is
on earth.” (Col 3:1a,2). What would Jesus do? What would
Jesus say? How would he say it? This is the only way to go,
“for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ
in God.” (Col 3:3). Is Christ living in you? Then speak
How in fact should we use our mouths?
Bless God. “Every day I will bless you; I will praise
your name forever and ever.” (Ps 145:2). The tongue
that blesses and praises God every day will not malign or
curse any of God’s people.
the gospel. “All your works give you thanks, Lord
and your faithful bless you. They speak of the glory of
your reign and tell of your mighty works, making known to
the sons of men your mighty acts, the majestic glory of
your rule.” (Ps 145:10-12). The tongue that is busy
evangelizing and focusing on assaulting the enemy will not
focus on seeming faults of brethren and certainly not assault
forget that you are now an ambassador of Christ, a steward
of his work, a witness to his very life. As “the Lord
is trustworthy in all his words, and loving in all his works”
(Ps 145:13), as his witnesses, so should we be. Watch your
words, and be loving in all you do.
But of course there will always be those who do not watch
their speech, and end up maligning or judging, and hurting
their brethren. Even here the Lord has his mysterious ways.
If you are the object of hurtful words, especially from brethren,
consider Jesus’ words: “Blessed are you when people
hate you and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce
your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and
leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great
in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the
same way.” (Lk 6:22-23).
make sure that people are speaking against you not for actual
wrongdoing you have committed, but with a clear conscience
that your words and actions have been on account of the Son
of Man, Jesus. If so, then you are blessed. You are privileged
to be among the company of prophets. You are privileged to
be treated in the same way Jesus was treated, even by his
own relatives and his own people. Your reward is not recognition
and acclaim in the here and now, but in heaven. So rejoice.
Nay, leap for joy!
now you can be assured you are witnessing to Jesus.
you can be assured, that after a life of witnessing to Jesus,
you will have your reward. “When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.” (Col 3:4).