Does your mouth ever get you in trouble?
I love to talk! I mean, honestly, I love to sit and have conversations with others, to find out what makes them tick, to hear what’s on their hearts, to engage in meaningful exchange of words and ideas. But, boy, can my mouth get me in trouble, too!
Here’s another blog post I wrote on this topic: Pey–Three Tips for Wise Speech.
Sometimes, I am misunderstood; sometimes I am too honest; sometimes I speak before I think. Sometimes I am just plain critical and negative. Sometimes my pride gets the better of me. Sometimes my feelings direct my words. And sometimes I just get stupid and say things that I don’t even really mean.
The Bible doesn’t fail to speak on this topic. I love what James had to say about the tongue.
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:9-10, NIV).
Well, don’t hold back on us, James. That is probably the most convicting passage to me about the tongue, because it’s so easy to praise God one minute and then get caught up in an ungodly conversation the next. But, oh, so wrong.
What makes me want to love on Jesus and then hate on my brother or sister? Let’s see what Jesus had to say.
“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:34-36).
Wow. Could it be that my mouth problem is really a heart problem? Could there be some area of my heart that is not right with God? We think we know our hearts, but Jeremiah said we really don’t.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Jeremiah is asking a rhetorical question, but it does have an answer. Jesus alone can really know our hearts. That’s why we need Him to show us daily what is in our hearts. That’s what David asked God to do.
“Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord” (Psalm 139:4).
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139: 23-24).
Like David, we need to spend time being QUIET before the Lord every day, asking God to search our hearts and show us anything that is not of Him. The Lord can reveal those areas of pride, insecurity, judgment, or even hate that would lead us to unholy speech. We can pray a prayer like this one:
“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil” (Psalm 141:3-4a).
If we know that we have a problem with a hasty tongue, then we can find Scriptures that encourage us to think before we speak and put them on note cards. We can them work on memorizing them, for Psalm 119:11 says that we can hide God’s Word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him. We can tuck these Scripture cards in our Bibles as bookmarks, in our purses to read while standing in the checkout or waiting at the doctor’s office. We can post them on our mirrors, microwaves, and bulletin boards–any place where we can see them daily.
Having God’s Word in our hearts and on our minds will transform us so that our mouth will reflect the truth: We are saved by grace, and God is able to work in us to make us what He wants us to be–witnesses of His glory.
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
God’s Word has the power to change us. Thank God.