George Orwell wrote, “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” Orwell not only acknowledged the power of thoughts through the expression of language, but that language has an effect on the things we think. Orwell wasn’t the first to discover this relationship. This view has a root in what the Bible teaches us about the things we think and say.
We all know people that pride themselves on speaking their mind, but not every thought we have is worthy of speech. Why is this? It’s because not every thought (or feeling for that matter) is good. Our minds and our hearts struggle with sin daily and many times the things we think and feel do not bring glory to God. We should not speak our mind or our feelings without filtering them through the truth of Scripture. Sure, the idea of speaking our minds seems like a noble attribute of honesty, but is something noble if it is not right?
What does the Bible teach us about the things we think and say? First, our hearts and minds are in the process of being transformed into the image of Christ. Romans 12:2 tells us that our minds need to be renewed to know what is acceptable to God. Meaning there is still work to do. This journey is not complete until we die or Christ returns. Scripture speaks in similar fashion about the heart. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us the “heart is deceitful above all things.” It is also something that must be daily purged of sinful desires. So, not everything we think or feel is right.
Second, if the thought or feeling is not right we have a responsibility to capture that thought. This one aspect of the message found in 2 Corinthians 10:5. We must evaluate our thoughts and feelings through the truthfulness of Scripture. If it does not align with God, it should never make it past our lips. We must stop it in the mind and if anything is spoken, it should be a rebuke of that thought or feeling.
Why is this battle of the mind so important? Because our words have the ability to influence our own thoughts and the thoughts of others. This takes us back to Orwell’s statement, but the Bible is also clear on this subject. Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 12:36 that we would give an account on the day of judgement for every idle or careless word spoken. Don’t get caught speaking your mind or following your feelings unless they align with God’s word. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (ESV)
This post was published in The Monitor of Naples, Texas, 5/12/2016.