I will be honest and say that I have not had many of those "The Lord has laid it on my heart" moments in my life, but lately He has been making a few things pretty clear. To put it briefly He is saying, "Watch your mouth." In recent weeks I would read a verse here or there that would make me think briefly about how the things coming out of my mouth affect others and blah blah blah...then that was about it, and I was sidetracked doing something else. This past Sunday I was pretty much smacked in the face with it when we read James 3:1-18 in our Sunday School class. This passage basically sums up the warnings and wisdom James gave about the power of the tongue. Every word is truth that needs to be read over and over. I still haven't fully digested it, but this verse in particular really grabbed hold of me.
9 "We praise our Lord and Father with it, and we curse men who are made in God's likeness with it."
I am often so quick to judge others without knowing their circumstance or intentions. Who am I that I should judge another who is no further down the "totem pole" than me?
Then, someone shared this:
Okay, so I am pretty sure I have never cussed anyone out on Facebook. Does that mean I get a free pass? Most definitely not. Maybe I am not guilty of this exact thing, but how is that different than me letting a word slip when I burn my arm on the oven door? What about when I drop half a tray of cookies on the floor at work, curse it, and then invite someone to church? How is this different than me complaining about someone's snippy comment about our pie prices and then encouraging someone to join a Sunday School class? Real answer? It isn't.
I had another epiphany today when I commented [without much thought really] that I not only need to control what goes into my mouth but also what comes out of it. I have been trying so hard to filter what I have been eating lately, but I also need to focus my attention on what comes out of my mouth. After thinking about that verse for a few days I went back to read our lesson from class in more depth. So many things hit me right where it hurts.
"Words don't kill physically, but they do bring death to another person's joy, peace, confidence, hope, love, or desire."
When I am quick to speak I don't always realize the impact my words are having on others. I long to possess the ability to examine my words before allowing insults and ignorance to spew from my mouth.
"Words can ruin a reputation and defile our Christian witness."
I walk around talking about going to church and Sunday School and how great it is, but then I curse when I burn my finger? This behavior only reaffirms the "hypocrite" idea that so many nonbelievers have about Christians. Why should I want to provide further support of that idea?
"The mouth speaks out of the overflow of the heart."
That last one got me. What comes out of my mouth is not born there. It comes from within me. What comes from my mouth reveals what is in my heart. This tells me that I need to ask God to work on my heart. I want to be slower to judge and rid myself of the desire to articulate those human thoughts that so quickly enter my mind and so easily fall from my lips. I want to change the reaction that follows me stubbing my toe or my ipod not working the way it should [that happened just tonight].
So I recognize it. The hard part now is living it. I am praying that I can monitor my words. At first I may not catch the negativity before it comes out, but I don't have to be numb to it. I hope that eventually I can replace each snippy comment, every negative reaction, and every single foul word with words that are uplifting and kind. This will not be easy. Being a natural born "smart mouth" I will fail many times. But I want to make positive changes to be a better friend, a more encouraging sister, and an uplifting wife. Pray for me...it is gonna be a long road.