Friday, March 18, 2011

Taming the Tongue

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

As women we are natural walkie talkies. We love to gab with our friends, share gossip and give advice. But as Christians, we are called to be different. Set apart. Holy.

When we are with family, friends and strangers do we weigh our words carefully before we speak?
Provebs 15:28 “The heart of us weighs its answers, but the mouth of  wicked gushes evil.”
The righteous weigh their answers, the wicked don’t wait to speak because they don’t care about the effects of their words. It is important to have something to say, but it is equally important to weigh it first. Do you carefully plan your words, or do you pour out your thoughts without concern for their impact?

Do we love to give unsolicited advice or wait to offer our opinion only when asked? Do our words breathe life into another's spirit or suck the wind out of their sails?Are we constantly negative and complaining, looking at the world through tinted shades or are we drawing out the positive in ourselves and others? I'm not talking about being a Pollyanna wearing rose-colored glasses. That's not reality. The world is full of good and bad. But do we genuinely have a spirit of love and grace towards others and use our words to express that instead of constant criticisms, judgmental jabs and condemning comments?
Proverbs 15:4 “A comforting tongue is a tree of life, but a twisted tongue is a crushing of the spirit.”
I admit, my words don’t always flow like honey from my lips. But my heart’s desire is to tame my tongue’s tail, so my words are life-giving and not life-draining. As a writer, but more importantly as a mother, I know how powerful words are. They can help a dreamer sprout wings to fly above the clouds or clip them so feathers never soar.

I shutter to think where I would be today without godly men and women in my life who made a difference through their encouraging words.

Do you want to be a cheerleader or a naysayer? Do you want to have a positive or negative effect on others? Do you strive to be the type of person that others feel better about themselves when they leave your presence or worse? Do you filter what you write or say and ask yourself 'will this benefit another in a positive way if I speak or pen it'? Or do you point out the weaknesses in others as an anodyne to keep from genuinely feeling or seeing your own pain?

Those who have not truly experienced the grace of God cannot extend grace to others.

We've all been taught: If we have nothing nice to say, then we should keep our lips sealed. So true. But how many of us actually heed this advice?

James 3:8 says, "but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."

Only Christ can change our hearts, which in turn will affect the words we speak.

"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45

I want my words to be encouraging, uplifting, edifying, loving, kind, gentle in order to empower others to be their best self. This means not walking in my flesh, but living in the spirit. Walking by faith, not by sight.

Lord, let my words flow like…
helium to a deflated balloon…
oil to a rusty hinge…
a fountain to an empty well.

How can we use our words to be a beacon of hope and faith in someone else’s life today?

Someone who is single, widowed or divorced and is lonely for a partner…

Someone who longs to take a leap of faith, but lacks the courage to jump…

Someone whose vision is impaired; who needs to be reminded how to dream again…

Someone who feels hopeless and is just waiting to hear the words: “I believe in you!”

Take a look around and open your eyes to see who God may put in your path this week to share encouraging, uplifting, positive words with.

Who knows? Your words may be just what someone needs to change the course of their life forever!

Stand back and watch wings take flight!

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

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