Tugging on the reins as hard as six-year old muscles could, I was no match for our new horse, Ginger. Moments before, I couldn’t wait to be lifted onto the back of this mahogany, black mane and tailed, beauty. I was in awe. Now, as we rocketed through the pasture, back to the barn, I hated her. I thought I was going to die. She was in control and I had none.
Our tongues tend to run away with us, don’t they? Words can come out of our mouths that surprise us. Words come out that hurt, yet we say them anyway. We put people in their places. We make sure everyone knows we’re upset and offended. We ‘toot our own horns.’ We ‘set the record straight.’ We withhold words when we should speak and we mow people down with them when we’d all be better off if we’d keep our mouths shut.
God has a lot to say about our words…
“The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – (Luke 6:45)
“The tongue has the power of life and death.” – (Proverbs 18:21)
“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.” – (James 3:10)
We’re a mess, aren’t we?
We’re not going to get this perfectly.
And we can do better.
I love how The Message interprets James 1:19, telling us to lead with our ears. It pairs well with our verse from Ephesians…” [speak] only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
We’d do well to take a deep breath before speaking. If we would listen, better yet, love people enough to hear them out…If we would pause to pray before we open our mouths, we might just get this better.
Jesus left us with His Spirit to guide us into all truth. We have the power of God to overcome the power of our tongues. We have His guidance to steer us to better words. We have His Spirit to convict us when we’ve barreled ahead without Him.
Have your words been serving your needs or the needs of others?
Do you need to check in on a relationship and make sure all is well between you? Have you mowed someone down? Used some pretty filthy language that sounds more like the world than a follower of Jesus? Are you building people up or tearing them down?
“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” – (Ps. 19:14)
This beautiful confession from David’s lips reminds us of a God who is passionate about the way we communicate with Him and each other. He has been so generous with us to give us His words. Let’s make every effort to honor Him with ours and let’s not expect the world to apply the same standard to theirs.