Interim Chaplain Josh Chiles has led Erskine’s socially distanced chapel services in Lesesne Auditorium during the first weeks of the Fall semester. In his message on Sept. 24, he encouraged college students to exercise maturity in speech, advising them to “slow down,” “set a guard,” and “get serious.”
The first element of the chaplain’s advice comes from James 1:19, in which Christians are urged to be “slow to speak”; the second derives from Psalm 141:3, in which David asks God to guard his lips; and the third is based on Matthew 12:36-37, in which Jesus tells his hearers that people will be called to account for “every idle word” they speak.
Chiles explained that maturity in our words is not about the vocabulary we use or the successes we have had in life, because everyone is equal in the eyes of God. He stressed the importance of speaking to others as we wish others to speak to us. Many people, he said, are not taught the importance of kind words and don’t consider the impact of their speech.
“People will admit how they got talked about, but never how they talk about other people,” Chiles said.
Words are powerful, and careless speech can cause great harm. Without God to guide our tongues, our words can poison us and our relationships.
“Only Jesus can tame what is coming out of our mouth,” Chiles said.