By: Sarah MacKinney
"Did you see what she was wearing, how could she leave the house like that?" "Can you believe what she lets her kids do, what kind of parent is she?" "What does she think she is doing, I could do that so much better."
Sound like kind, helpful words? Not so much. Oh behold the power of what comes out of our mouths! Sometimes I think I have the fruit of the spirit "self control" down in most areas of my life except my tongue. All of us have been the recipient of hurtful words or gossip and we know how it makes us feel. Sad, hurt, insecure, angry, disrespected. So why then, do we sometimes think that we can say anything that we think or feel?
We are told in Matthew 12:36 that we will be judged for every idle word that comes out of our mouths. Yikes! So what exactly is considered an idle word? I'm glad you asked! Words that are meant to wound, words that are critical, judgmental, careless, vulgar, disrespectful, words that tear down instead of build up etc. Think about what we say to our spouse or our kids when we have had a long day and we are exhausted and frustrated. Or maybe when your child brings home an undesirable grade on a test; or your husband has walked past the same towel on his side of the bed for 2 months! Do we speak careless, unkind words in our frustration? Or do we practice self control and speak in kind truth and confront lovingly? The Bible also tells us that what is in our hearts is what comes out of our mouths. Again....yikes!! I dont want junk in my heart!
Do you know that you have the power of life and death in your tongue? You have the power to make someone's day or destroy it. Think about this analogy. Consider a tube of toothpaste, for every idle word you speak you squeeze out some toothpaste. In a few days, the entire tube of toothpaste is empty. Now imagine trying to go back and put all that toothpaste back in the tube. Impossible right? That is how it is with our words. We spew them out so easily but once they are said, we can never ever take them back. We may apologize and feel bad for them, but too many times the damage has already been done. Ephesians 4:29 instructs us to not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, only what is helpful for building each other up.
A few months ago I was confronted by someone who told me exactly what they thought of me. So careless were the words, so hurtful; that I cried for two hours. Perhaps they had legitimate things to say, but the words that were chosen to address all my flaws; left me broken and feeling defeated. On the flip side, when kind words are spoken, we feel the opposite emotions. Joy, comfort, peace, hopeful, strong. I have a sweet friend in my life who is a constant encourager. She knows how to speak truth in love, she compliments, encourages and I always feel good after being in her presence. That is how I want people to feel after they have been with me too. So perhaps it is time to do some self inventory. What comes out of my mouth most often, kind or hurtful words? Am I am an encourager or am I a critic? Would the people that know me best consider me a gossip? Do I build up or tear down? If we can answer yes to any of these questions, don't lose hope....there is good news! We don't have to do it anymore!
God gives us the grace and ability to change; He gives us the power to resist the temptation to gossip or say unkind things. The best news is that HE forgives! If you find yourself thinking this blog was written just for you, perhaps God is trying to show you an area that you need to change; just like He has done with me. Ask God to forgive you for the unkind, unnecessary words that you say and ask Him to help you control your tongue. Ask Him to fill you with kind and encouraging words. He is a promise keeper, and He will do it!