Tit 3:1-3 “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.”
We find Paul continuing to admonish Titus of the responsibility of a minister to speak those things which are appropriate for sound doctrine (Tit 2:1). The “them” that Paul is referencing are the aged men and women, the young men and women, and the servants from the previous chapter. Everyone that the ministering servant addresses is to be gently reminded (see Strong’s) that there are those to whom we are always in subjection.
In our pursuit of our right to free speech, we often forget the admonition of scripture. Those who study and believe the word of God must recognize that there are rules and authorities to which we are all in subjection. We are not told that we necessarily have to like or agree with all the principalities and powers, but we are to respect the authority they have. This authority does not supersede God’s authority, but neither are we relieved from working within these principalities and powers, submitting ourselves to those in authority (magistrates). In other words, we are expected to be good citizens.
Part of being a good citizen is to be prepared to respond to every beneficial action that God places in our path. We are not to judge the reaction of the potential recipient of whatever work God puts before us. Our responsibility is to be obedient to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and to perform the work with gladness. Among the beneficial actions that are put before us is the ability to speak to and about others.
There is no great mystery to this next piece of admonition: do not speak evil of any man. I find myself often in despair of the news media, social media, printed media, so-called reality TV, and general public conversation. It seems that our entire dialogue, regardless of source, is rife with speaking evil of others. While this might be expected in the world, it is heart-breaking to find the people who profess a belief in God to be as deeply engaged in this practice as any other.
We should not be engaged in any practice or communication that incites riot (whether physical or emotional) by speaking evil of those in authority. Our demeanor should be one of gentleness and meekness unto all men. I am not speaking in terms of rolling over and playing dead, but rather in walking as our Lord walked. We can and should rebuke ungodliness without speaking evil of men.
It is a simple truth that we are all Adam multiplied. As such, we have all behaved in an unwise (foolish) manner at one time or another. None of us can claim that we have never been contrary or walked in error. We have not been totally immune to seeking to satisfy our own selfish desires. We are as guilty as any of begin hateful, jealous, and loving others in a fashion less than what Jesus has told us to do.
If we would speak the things that are appropriate for sound doctrine, then we need to teach one another to take our concerns to God in prayer. We should not be willing to join in with everyone else and engage in name calling and character assassination. Sarcasm is not compatible with gentleness, and hateful speech is not compatible with being ready to every good work.
May God show us what we are by our Adam nature and teach us to not ridicule others when they display their Adam nature, but rather humbly seek His guidance for our lives that He might be pleased to use us to encourage those around us to live godly in this present world!