July 11

And Isaiah said, “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips.” Isaiah 6:5 

So then putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors. Ephesians 4:25 

Chapter 6 of Isaiah, where Isaiah gets his “unique commission,” starts out with a glorious scene. Isaiah sees God in heaven with angels singing which sounds like it would be really wonderful. Yet his response is in verse 5 – “woe is me.” He believes that if you actually see God you die and he doesn’t feel worthy at all to be one who can directly speak with God. But God doesn’t intend his death, rather He wants Isaiah to spread His message – so an angel is sent with a hot coal, touches his lips and tells him that God has taken away all his guilt and his sin is atoned for. Now Isaiah is ready, God asks who He can send to the people and Isaiah answers: “Here am I, send me.” The unclean lips he was so worried about are now empowered to spread the truth that God wants the people to hear. 

Telling the truth is supposed to always be the best thing to do. After all there is a commandment about now bearing false witness. Yet how often do we shy away from telling someone the truth, maybe we don’t want to hurt their feelings or we just don’t tell all the truth. Or, maybe we hear rumors and outright lies about someone, or a group, and don’t speak up. Certainly there are times when telling the truth may not be helpful, and could be hurtful; there is a place for a few little “white lies” that are intended to support someone. Yet there is a major truth that we cannot deny. Paul tells us to put away falsehood. He says that in coming to Christ we have put away our old self, and we have been made new. We were actually created to be like God, and, now are new persons that can live righteous, holy lives. 

Ephesians 4:29 tells us to not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, that we should only say what is helpful for building others up. We are to do this according to what people need, and as a way for others to see and listen. Thus we can speak the truth to our neighbors, our fellow believers and those who are still unbelievers. The truth we have to speak is powerful, and just like Isaiah we can have the help of God who cleans up our lips and can use us to spread the Good News. 

Lord, you know the inner workings of our hearts. Often we are not truthful even with ourselves. When we hear lies told, we are afraid to speak up. Give us the courage to speak the truth. Giver of the most amazing grace, put the words on our lips that speak your truth to a world in need. May the words we say always help others to experience your love in new ways. Amen. 

Chris Gabel