My mouth. Ohhh, my mouth.
When I was a little girl, my grandma taught me how to use a needle and thread; how I wish I could take a needle and thread and use it to sew up my own pie-hole. Yes, my very own open trap that doesn’t seem to know when to keep itself shut.
When, oh when am I ever going to learn?? When will I learn that I really don’t have to say everything I think? When will I once and for all convince myself that I am not God’s personal ambassador to right every wrong in the world? Newsflash to self: everyone is NOT lining up for your advice. Nope. They are not.
My exact words to my husband last night:
“Look honey, can you do me a favor? Please, when you hear me start to spout off about something you know I’m gonna regret later, will you please just clap your hand over my mouth? I’m serious. I promise – I won’t get mad. No really. I won’t. Just do it, ok?”
And then today. Today… oh my word. Ouch-ouch-ouch-ouch-ouch…
I did it again! Y’all, seriously, I sometimes have to physically put both hands over my mouth to keep from saying something. But it doesn’t always work, because my hands move over those keys just about as fast as my mouth moves…
Listen – let’s get serious here. Friends, sisters – you need to hear me out. I need to hear me out.
Yep. Just stop it.
Ladies, (gentlemen?) there’s a world of hurt going on out there. Words are flyin’ everywhere – and I do mean everywhere. They’re flyin’ out of mouths, off of keyboards, through cyberspace, cell-phone towers – the air is full of ‘em. And they are ugly. U-G-L-Y – ugly.
A couple of weeks ago, I felt compelled to write about the words we use, so I looked up Scripture about the tongue, words, etc. By the time I got done, I was pretty sure I was going to hell. I spent some serious time repenting, spoke to the youth about it, and never got around to writing.
A couple of days ago, I remembered I needed to write and said, “Lord, I need you to give me something. Can you help me out? I’ve been pretty ok with my mouth the last couple of weeks… “
Famous last words.
So the past few days?
WORST. DAYS. EVER.
Just whoa. I don’t know what in the world happened, but by the time I was done today, I was bawling. And y’all, I bawled for two hours straight, no joke. Not just because I was wounded, though that was a big part of it, but because I was so angry at myself. So done with myself. So finished with my own tongue and my need to say what I think. So SICK of hearing myself talk!
So let’s cut to the chase. James, chapter 4, says this:
1 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
Did you get that?
WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT EACH OTHER.
I don’t care WHAT sister so-and-so did to you. I don’t care if you don’t like her hair, if she wears too much make-up, if her clothes are too revealing, if she doesn’t say hi to you when you walk by, if she talks about you behind your back, if she takes charge of all the church activities you wanted to be in charge of, if she never shows up when she says she will, if she posts too much personal info on Facebook, if she brags about her kids or grandkids too much, if her personality rubs you the wrong way, if she gave someone else the job you wanted, if she gave your co-worker a raise but didn’t give you one, if she’s sleeping with the next-door neighbor’s sister’s cousin’s best friend…
I. Don’t. Care.
You don’t get to talk about her.
Period and done.
Want to argue?
Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy;
No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure. ~ Psalm 101:5
(That one’s scary! God will destroy me? Yikes!)
But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” ~ Matthew 12:36-37
(I am seriously squirming already.)
Remind them… to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. ~ Titus 3:1-2
For lack of wood the fire goes out,
And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down. ~ Proverbs 26:2
(This means that if you shut up, the gossip goes away.)
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. ~ Ephesians 4:29
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. ~ Ephesians 4:31-32
Listen – this post has got to be as straight as it comes – I have to be tough on this problem – because this is a problem for me.
Maybe it isn’t a problem for you. If not, YAY!! I’m glad you’re perfect. Because that’s what Scripture says:
If anyone offend not in word, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body, too. ~ James 3:2
So hooray! You can sign off now and skip it.
The rest of us need help. I need help. I need the help of the Holy Spirit to bridle my tongue.
I need His help to not get easily offended and spout off the first thing that comes to mind.
I need His help to give a soft answer that turns away wrath, instead of that harsh word that stirs up anger.
I need His help to not share everything bad someone else does to me.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. ~ Colossians 3:13
Y’all – that Scripture just told me what I have to do. It didn’t give me options. My only two choices are obedience or disobedience. Forgive or don’t forgive – there is no third option.
Here’s what else I need help with:
I need help to not listen to and participate in conversations about someone who has done me wrong (and seemingly everyone else, too!).
You know what I’m talking about. This is the ugliest part of resentment:
…when someone has hurt you, hearing something unpleasant about them sometimes makes you feel better. It brings some sense of satisfaction. Proverbs 18:8 literally calls these words “dainty morsels… that go down into the innermost parts of the body.” It is an awful thing to have to admit, and frankly something I can’t stand about myself. In fact, as I grow closer to the Lord, I have an equally growing distaste for negative talk from myself and others. It makes me ill… even when it is my own mouth talking.
But it must be addressed. This is what the book of Hebrews calls a “root of bitterness,” and we have to allow the Lord to weed it out. When I harbor resentment toward someone, I am allowing a “root of bitterness” to spring up in me, “thereby defiling many.” (Hebrews 12:15)
Wait – my personal grudge toward someone is defiling many? Here’s the truth: when I stay angry and share something ugly someone else has done, I have just defiled someone else’s thinking toward another person. I have tainted that person’s perception of someone else – even if he or she had no problem with them to begin with. What??
Yes – I am personally breeding ugliness and filth within the body of Christ. It sounds so awful when you put it that way, right?
That’s because it is. Tarnishing someone else’s reputation is as bad as stealing something valuable from them. Because you have – you have stolen their good name in the eyes of others. Do you think they deserved it? Then perhaps my sins and yours should be displayed in front of the world for everyone to see so our good names can be stolen as well. Don’t like that idea? Yeah, me neither.
So what’s the point? The point is
SHUT UP. BITE YOUR TONGUE. BUTTON YOUR LIP.
Can’t stop talking with your best friend about someone you have a mutual dislike for? Then avoid her for awhile. Scripture says that if your right hand offends, cut it off, because it is better to go to heaven maimed than to go to hell with both hands.
In the same way, it is better to please God without your gossipy friend in tow, than to displease Him and risk being destroyed with her. So if a reasonable request to cut the gossip goes unheeded, avoid the friendship.
I know this all sounds so harsh… and maybe hits a little too close to home. But it’s a real problem with real consequences, and it really needs to stop.
Because of our careless words, there are divisions within the church.
Because of our careless words, sinners are turned off and turned away from grace.
Because of our careless words, our spouses are wounded.
Because of our careless words, marriages are broken.
Because of our careless words, children are confused and cruel to one another.
Because of our careless words, we are bringing down condemnation on our own heads.
THE TONGUE HAS THE POWER OF LIFE AND DEATH. ~Proverbs 18:21
Please… wield it carefully.
A few last Scriptures to leave you with:
A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends. ~ Proverbs 16:28
With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor; but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. ~ Proverbs 11:9
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. ~ Luke 6:45
May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be pleasing in Your sight oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. ~Psalm 19:14
Head over to Purposeful Faith with Kelly Balarie and friends for more encouraging and inspirational posts. http://purposefulfaith.com/jealous-girl/