Speaking from Good Hearts for Salvation
WHAT a priceless gift the faculty of intelligent speech is! Man alone has been endowed by God with this ability to communicate thoughts to one another. Every day we should be thanking our Creator for this precious instrument. And not only should we thank God in so many words but we should show our gratitude by the way we use this gift.
Yet how many persons misuse this wonderful gift because of having bad hearts! Among such are the hypocritical religious leaders of today who keep speaking false traditions.
Then there are those who take delight in speaking obscenities. Professional and amateur entertainers seek popularity by appealing to the depraved tendencies in humans. Christians are strongly warned against such misuse of their gift of speech: “Let fornication and uncleanness of every kind or greediness not even be mentioned among you.”—Eph. 5:3.
As Christians we must also be on guard lest we misuse our gift of speech due to thoughtlessness or resentment. Fittingly the disciple James counsels us: “It is not proper, my brothers, for these things to go on occurring this way.” Instead of thoughtlessly or maliciously “uncovering confidential talk,” let us seek love by “covering over transgression.”—Jas. 3:10; Prov. 11:13; 17:9.
The key to the proper use of our gift of speech is our heart. As Jesus Christ showed: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure sends out good things, whereas the wicked man out of his wicked treasure sends out wicked things.”—Matt. 12:34, 35.a
To speak from good hearts we must therefore transform ourselves. We must make our minds over to prove what is God’s good and complete will. Far from letting our minds dwell on whatever may enter them by the senses or the imagination, we must learn to exercise self-control so as to keep on considering whatever things are true, chaste, virtuous, lovable and praiseworthy.—Rom. 12:2; Phil. 4:8.
It will help us to speak from good hearts to look at the example Jehovah God sets for us. Through his Word he speaks to us only that which will build us up. In his mercy and loving-kindness he utters words that are like nourishment to the hungry soul. He has the best of reasons for everything he says in his Word.
What a fine example we also have in His Son! He thought before he spoke. Love and wisdom guided his speech. No wonder it is written: “The crowds were astounded at his way of teaching.” “Never has another man spoken like this.” “All began to . . . marvel at the winsome words proceeding out of his mouth.”—Matt. 7:28; John 7:46; Luke 4:22.
To speak from good hearts for the salvation of others as well as ourselves we must follow our two great Exemplars. We have many opportunities for doing so at our congregation meetings. By properly preparing in advance we can make public declaration to the point and with confidence.—Heb. 10:23-25.
At times individuals may come to us for personal counsel. What an opportunity to speak from a good heart! Let us make wise use of it by appealing to Scriptural principles. And to do the most good, remember to speak with kindness, mildness and tact.—1 Cor. 8:1.
As Christian ministers our chief concern, however, must be speaking from good hearts the good news of God’s kingdom. We all know the many different ways in which this can be done for the salvation of others. And let us make sure that our hearts are always full of love for those to whom we speak.
In particular do we speak from good hearts for the salvation of others when we teach them. That means patiently and explicitly instructing them so that they can express in their own words what we taught them. This will both qualify them to teach others and give them the incentive to do so.—Luke 6:40.
The result of dedicated Christians world-wide thus speaking is published in this issue of The Watchtower. It has put tens of thousands on the way to salvation. The 1961 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses further shows how this was done in ever so many specific instances. Read it, not only for enjoyment, but also for your instruction, that you may “be doing the same yourself.”—Luke 10:37.
So, Christian ministers of Jehovah, keep speaking from good hearts for salvation during the month of January. In your preaching activity feature this Bible-study aid, The Watchtower, on a subscription basis. And follow through by teaching all those showing themselves to be conscious of their spiritual need.
a For details see The Watchtower, June 1, 1960.