Recently, I met a minister I’ve known for a number of years. Every time I had encountered him in the past, I had said to my wife afterward, “That man is so shallow. Such a boastful show-off. I don’t know how God could ever bless him.” Then I met this same man after the Holy Ghost had dealt with me about judging others. This time, the Spirit told me, “Love him. Be quiet and listen to him. Then pray with him.”

I obeyed. I loved the man, listened to him talk, and afterward took his hand and prayed. As soon as we parted ways, a strange thing happened to me: I was stricken with grief. A terror swept over me—the terror of what I’d done to this man over the years. I saw the exceeding sinfulness of my defiling sin.

David exhorts, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). The apostle Paul adds this perspective: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God” (4:29-30).

Dear saint, not a person reading this message is too holy to heed it and make a change. For my part, I feel God’s grief over all the ways I’ve misjudged people through the years, whether knowingly or unknowingly. I urge you to cry out as my heart does:

“Oh, Lord, why wasn’t I ready to hear this sooner? Why haven’t I dealt with this before now? I want to proclaim Your gospel, declare Your generation. Please, Jesus, forgive me. Cleanse my defiled mouth, my defiled ears, my defiled eyes. And give me a renewed heart. I want nothing to hinder my life from being a full manifestation of who You are.” May the Lord hear our cry and move quickly to remake us. He will give us strength to put away all evil speaking, evil listening and mental judging. Then we’ll be better able to prolong the days of our Lord.