Your Accent Can and Will Identify You

SCRIPTURE:  Matthew 26:69-75

Different groups of people have distinct ways of speaking.  Englishmen, Scots, the Irish, Australians, Canadians, and Americans.  All claim English as their native language yet they speak differently.

When I first met my wife’s parents, I had difficulty understanding complete sentences when around her dad.  He was native Puerto Rican with a heavy Spanish accent.  I also learned that he never spoke Spanish around the house–ENGLISH was his adopted speech.

I also have family who lives in the State of Texas and though none have acquired a ‘Texas accent’, one of my nieces’ husband has a definite Texas drawl.  You know where he’s from.

Now we know the story of how Christ told Peter at the Passover that he would deny Him.  “Not a chance,” said Peter.  “I would die before I’d deny you!”  “Oh yes you will,” replied Jesus, “and you will do it before the rooster crows this morning.”

The flames cast eerie shadows over the mixed group crowding for warmth.  The talk was about a man from Galilee who had been arrested for blasphemy, who had seen him, what did they think.  Was he God or was he the devil?  And as they chatted, someone pointed to the burly young stranger in the corner.

“You, you were with the one called Jesus.’

“No, you’re wrong,”  he said.  “I don’t know the carpenter.”

But somebody else piped up and said “Sure you do, I’m positive about it” and this time Peter the fisherman ignoring the fact he was in mixed company answered with a string of oaths.  The group turned away from him and started talking amongst themselves when one broke away from the others and approached the scowling Simon Peter.

Matthew 26:73

“Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”

Now one of two things happened.

The first is that we are told that Peter denied that he knew Christ with an oath, maybe this gave him away as a fisherman because after binge-watching the television series “The Deadliest Catch” about crabbing in Alaska, with all the conversational ‘bleeps’, fishermen can cuss the bark off a tree.  This is kind of backed up in Matthew 26:74 ~

“Then he [Peter] began to call down curses, and he swore to them, I don’t know the man.”

More likely though the man was responding to Peter’s Galilean ACCENT.

And so the literal meaning of the passage of Peter’s Galilean ACCENT gave away his true identity away.

Let’s for a moment disregard everything we know about interpreting the Bible.  I’m going to take a passage of Scripture out of context and venture into the area of conjecture that won’t relate in any way to what Matthew was trying to convey.  A message for this blog was given to me by Holy Spirit and a message I feel cannot be ignored:

“Your speech betrays you.”

The way we speak and what we say reveals a great deal about who we are in Christ Jesus–our character or lack thereof.

The TONGUE is the most powerful influence in the Church; able to build people up or tear them down.  I’ve heard people say “You know Mel, those ‘unknown tongues’ can destroy the church.”  I don’t know, there sure have been a lot of churches destroyed by the known tongue.

James 3:9-12 ~

The vast majority of the world doesn’t know what James says and yet almost everybody recognizes and acknowledges this TRUTH of the Scripture and that is  “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?…Can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear gigs?  Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

Whether you want to accept it or not is up to you but the FACT is that many of the JUDGMENTS made both inside and outside the church is based on the depth of our spiritual walk and may be based on what we say or how we say it.

Galatians 5:19-21 READS 

[19]  The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; [20] idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions [21] and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like…

Notice how many of these that are listed in the verses are manifested through SPEECH.  That is they are all ACTIONS expressed, enlarged or revealed through our words.  And by the way, if you think the apostle Paul is finished here look at the next two verses.

Galatians 5:22-23 (AMP)

[22] But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, [23] Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence).  Against such things, there is no law [that can and bring a charge].

And so on a day to day basis, we are JUDGED not just by our ACTIONS but on our words, and our tone of voice.  And you’re not just JUDGED by the person you are talking to or about but you are JUDGED by everyone within earshot.

So does your speech betray spiritual flaws, or does your speech reveal spiritual strength?

YOUR SPEECH CAN REVEAL YOUR FAITH (Numbers 14:7-8) –

Not only did Caleb & Joshua BELIEVE God was able to deliver them to the promised land but they were willing to put their FAITH out there by verbalizing their BELIEF.

Funny how FAITH often doesn’t become real until it’s spoken aloud.

Now to be truthful, I don’t know if it’s accountability or if God just wants us to verbalize our BELIEF AND FAITH in Him.  But I do know this, that we have to get beyond “No I can’t” and get to “Yes God can!”

  • “I CAN’T kick that habit’
  • “I CAN’T overcome that sin”
  • “I CAN’T love that person”
  • “I CAN’T tithe”
  • “I CAN’T, I CAN’T, I CAN’T!”

But remember Philippians 4:13 ~ “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]”  (Amplified)

Your SPEECH reveals YOUR CONTENTMENT ~

In writing to the Christians in Phillipi, the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:1 “I am not complaining about having too little.  I have learned to be satisfied with whatever I have.”

I need to say here, CONTENTMENT isn’t complacency.

Discontentment tends to raid against things and people, while CONTENTMENT moves consistently toward Godliness.  It’s never willing to stand still and be stagnate.

We can be CONTENT to live in 2018 without becoming complacent with the evils which surround us, and instead, we will seek to change them.  The CONTENT person is the person who says “I BELIEVE THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL AND WILL SEEK TO SERVE HIM REGARDLESS OF THE SITUATION.”

Does your SPEECH betray your lack of LOVE?

Over the years as a believer in Christ Jesus, I can think of no other thing that does as much damage to the BODY OF CHRIST as the TONGUE of Christians.

“But I was just sharing so and so’s problem so we could pray about it.”

Yah right.  If you got a problem, it doesn’t go to the person down the street, it doesn’t go to the Pastor or the board.  The Scripture is very plain.  If you personally have a problem with someone in the church then go to that person privately and get it straight.

Gossip isn’t the only problem with the TONGUE.

Another one is FRANKNESS or Candor.

A woman once told the English cleric and theologian John Wesley,  “I have a talent for always speaking my mind.”  His response, “That’s one talent that would be best buried.”

It’s sometimes too easy to point out a person’s shortcomings and sometimes the damage is devastating.  It’s been wisely said that we need to apply a three-fold test to what we say:  1) Is it true? 2) Is it kind? 3) Is it necessary?  As my mother use to say “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.”

In Philippians 4:8 Paul presents some guidelines for what we should be thinking.

[8] “Summing it all up friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse”  (The Message Bible).

I don’t think it would do an injustice to the Scripture to add to what Paul is saying, to SPEAK ABOUT SUCH THINGS.  If we SPEAK on those things listed in verse 8 then we won’t have time to be malicious, nasty and hurtful.

PARENTS must realize the damage we can do to our children with harsh and critical words.  And as evidence, the words spoken by my parents in growing up was perpetuated in my life and thoughts that the Holy Spirit within me is still working out.

CHRISTIANS realize the damage you can do to your brothers and sister in Christ.

And LAYMEN, realize the damage that can be done to PASTORS.

And PARENTS, if you are going to discuss your church’s problems and shortcomings (all churches have ‘problems and shortcomings’!), PLEASE do it out of earshot of your children.  Don’t let your SPEECH betray your lack of love.

Your SPEECH REVEALS YOUR love (Romans 1:8)

As difficult as it might be for some folks, it is imperative when we talk to and about people to be positive.

It is so important to hold up people’s achievements and give PRAISE where PRAISE is due.  As PARENTS we need to verbalize our LOVE for our children and tell them how proud we are of them daily.  Our WORDS mold our children and become self-fulfilling prophecies, and not just your children, but our spouses as well.

Billy Sunday said, “Praise your wife, even if it does surprise her at first.”  Take time to say “I LOVE YOU!”  My wife and I have re-emphasized this godly practice during the day and every day.  No phoniness, please!  Do it with sincerity!!

The old farmer’s wife said, “You never tell me that you love me anymore.”  And he replied, “I told you I loved yo 40 years ago, and if I change my mind I’ll let you know.”

How about telling your friends how you feel about them or your brothers and sisters in the Lord, or the workers in the church.  I’m not talking about flattery, I’m talking about sincere PRAISE.

Let’s make a conscious effort to be POSITIVE in our comments to one another; to speak up more in PRAISE & ENCOURAGEMENT.  Everyone needs a BARNABAS in their lives.

If your children get more attention when they do something wrong than when they do something right, what do you think they’re going to do?  And it’s the same with church members.  

LET YOUR SPEECH REVEAL YOUR LOVE.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

CREDITS –

Photos:  Google Image Search, Advance settings.

Bible Study Online Tools.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV) except where noted in the text.

 

 

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