This Lent Devotional for Women will consider what we say, how we say it, and who we say it to and we’re looking at Peter the Apostle to get us started. Keep this in mind as we go through this; our speech reveals who we are.
Maybe it’s the way we talk, the tone or inflection that gives us away. Maybe it’s the local slang or words that would hint at our age. Maybe the force, volume, or speed; either way, our speech reveals who we are.
Today’s Passion reading was from Matthew 26 and in verse 73, Peter’s speech is brought into question. Various translations record this verse as:
(ASV) …for thy speech maketh thee known.
(BBE) Truly you are one of them; because your talk is witness against you.
(CEB) The way you talk gives you away.
(ESV) Certainly, you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.
(GNT) After all, the way you speak gives you away!
(NASB) Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.
(NLT) You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.
(TPT) We know you’re one of his disciples—we can tell by your speech. Your Galilean accent gives you away!
(DR) Surely thou also art one of them. For even thy speech doth discover thee.
The above verses are a little varied but all have one thing in common, Peter was identified as a disciple of Christ by his speech.
Are we? The answer is yes by the way.
Does our speech, from the very first moment we wake up until the end of the day when we crash in bed, reveal Who we profess to follow, love, and imitate? You know, since we call ourselves “Christians” and all?
What is the first thing we say in the morning? Before we open our eyes, slide out from under the covers, hit the floor? What do we say?
Ugh, another day?!?
What the what?!?
I don’t want to do today.
I can’t adult.
There’s an ancient tradition of starting the day with the words, Serviam–I will serve. “Serviam is Latin for “I will serve.” This was the cry of St. Michael the Archangel as a response to Lucifer’s “I will not serve” (Non serviam) when God put the angels to the test.”
If you don’t want to get all fancy-pants Latin first thing in the morning, how about, “Good morning God.” “I love You Jesus.” Or even a simple, “Thank You.”
Can you even imagine what our days might look like if the first words in our heart and mind was, “Thank You.”
And then on to the next words, we speak or think. Maybe when we’re brushing our teeth or making the coffee. What do we say? Do we growl to ourselves or at others? Do we say things like, “Why are you so fat, tired, slow, etc” Do we look at the people around us and go through that same litany, only with them instead of ourselves?
Our speech matters. It affects the way we see, think, act, and feel about ourselves and others. It reveals who we are and what we think. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” +Matthew 12:34b
Back to Peter though because spending too much time thinking about my own speech makes me a little squirmy. Because Peter’s speech was so revealing, the third time he was questioned about being a follower of Jesus, the time the woman mentioned his speech as the clue, not only did he deny it, as he had already done twice before, he cursed and swore…he changed his speech to prove he was not a Christ follower. ( I know, really long, pieced together sentence above.)
Matthew Henry states, “None but the devil’s sayings need the devil’s proofs.”
It wasn’t enough, or at least it hadn’t been enough for Peter to merely deny Christ, now he had to curse and swear to “prove” his disassociation. You know it’s coming…how or what do we do to prove we’re still cool, fun, or whatever, even though we’re a Christian.
And let me tell y’all, I am not pointing any fingers because you know the saying about pointing fingers, three more are pointing back. I am accusing myself, not you. And just in case you’re feeling a little uncomfortable with this reflection…SAME!
I’m not sure many of us have the chance to outright deny, “I don’t know Him!” But how often do we slip into laughing at crude jokes? Singing raunchy lyrics? Taking our Lord’s name in vain? Cursing or swearing, even if it’s only repeating a story, song, or movie? Ouch!
How often do we try to disassociate ourselves from being one of those religious fanatics by trying to blend in with the conversation with what we say and how we say it?
So what can we do here? The very first thing I would do is find Scriptures that deal with our words. There are so many! As a matter of fact, finding Scriptures about my thoughts and words was my introduction to Bible journaling or verse mapping.
I sat down one day with a green highlighter and started underlining all the verses in the Book of Proverbs that addressed my thoughts and words. I chose green because I associated green with life and I wanted my words–to myself and others–to speak life.
Let’s pay attention to what we say today. Not only what, but how and even why. That’s always a great question to ask ourselves, “Why am I talking right now?” My sister-in-law’s brother is known for asking himself three questions:
1. Does this need to be said?
2. Does this need to be said by me?
3. Does this need to be said right now?
Might be something to think about today.
Have you thought about joining our Online Bible Study Community? We meet weekly in a live Zoom call (recorded for those who can’t make the live). We have a private Facebook group, Scripture Writing Plans, and Journaling Reflections questions.