I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said something stupid and then felt foolish after. How about you?
This morning, I was reading Proverbs 10.The Holy Spirit used the words of this little Proverb to cut through my soul with conviction. So, I figured I might as well pass the conviction along to you – my friends. After all, what are friends for?
In this Proverb, I discovered at least 12 references to our tongues and the words we speak. Honestly, I might have missed a few. When I see 12 references to the tongue in one chapter, I know I need to take notice because that means God really wants me to understand the importance of what He’s saying! The over all truth of Proverbs 10 is that we can easily make a fool of ourselves by how we use our tongues. Ouch! In light of that, I thought I’d give you just 3 ways to “fool proof” your week.
Think before you speak. Don’t chatter. (Proverbs 10:8,10,19) I remember when I was a little girl someone said to me, “Becky, you don’t have to say everything that comes into your head.” Pretty wise counsel. It’s taken me ¾ of my life to figure that out and I’m still not sure I get it. The meaning of chatter according to dictionary http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/chatter?s=t “to talk rapidly in a foolish or purposeless way; jabber.” To be clear here, I don’t think this is talking here about processing your thoughts with a good friend or spouse. Chatter seems to be more filling silent space with meaningless words. Saying whatever pops into your head. Some thoughts are simply better left unsaid. Ask the Lord for wisdom about what really needs to be said. I remember when our kids were little we would tell them Amy Carmichael’s rules for talking: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
Use your words to encourage and lift other’s up. Don’t tear people down. (Proverbs 10:11,18,21) When you use your words to build others up or to offer encouragement, it is like giving thirsty person ice-cold water. I’ve come to realize that many in our world are thirsting for affirmation. When you affirm someone else, watch their face. If you look closely, you’ll see their eyes light up and their entire facial expression changes. A good practice for life is to affirm at least 3 people a day! You can’t go wrong. And, it’s pretty easy. One affirmation for your spouse, one for your kids and one for a friend, co-worker or stranger! Try it this week.
Fill your mind with wise words. Don’t fill your mind with garbage. (Proverbs 10:31) Our minds are like computers. What we fill our minds with will come out of our mouths. Scary thought, huh? I want to fill my mind with God’s words so that it’s His thoughts that come out of my mouth.
I often think about who I want to be when I’m in my 80’s. I’ve had some good examples, and some horrible examples. When I’m in my 80’s I want to be speaking life to people. I don’t want others to feel afraid of what might come out of my mouth! That means I need to fill my mind now with God’s thoughts. I discipline myself to memorize. I want, in the words of Paul, my gentleness to be known by all. (Philippians 4:5) That means I have to do the work now to put the right thoughts in my mind so that the right words come out of my mouth then.
Hey friend, I know this post is a little tough. But, I am taking these thoughts to heart myself. Are you with me? We’re in this together! We can pray for each other this week that our words would demonstrate our love for Christ. As always I’d love to hear from you. What have you found helpful in controlling your tongue?