They can be one of the hardest things to tame; faster and more powerful than an angry, raging river. With one swift motion, that small muscle we call the tongue can cut a heart in half.
Isn’t it incredible how something you can’t see or hold can be shared so quickly? Whether or not we like it, words can transform us. They can empower us, motivate us, or they can tear us down and shatter our very core.
Like you, I have been on both the receiving & giving end of other’s words. I have received hurtful words. I have given hurtful words. I have received words that gave me life. And I hope I have spoken life giving words.
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37
Every careless word we speak, we will be held accountable for. Yikes.
We are responsible for every single word that we give. If you’re like me, it can be all too easy to justify the words I speak by rationalizing, “Well, they asked for my opinion, so I gave it to them” or “They wanted the truth, so I told them.”
Despite how hard I try to convince my husband, my opinions are not always actually right. Even if the words come easily to me, it doesn’t mean they should be released. And just because I speak with conviction it doesn’t guarantee that the source of those words is pure. My heart can be deceptive. If left to it’s own devices, my heart can be jealous, angry and selfish.
“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3
There are many times I have to make the conscious decision to bridle my tongue. The more I’ve practiced “thinking before speaking”, the more aware I’ve also become about where my thoughts and words are coming from. Are they coming from a source of jealousy? Is that why I feel the need to say something? Inviting God into that place of my heart and mind has been a game changer for me. He’s revealed how untamed emotions like jealousy, anger, bitterness or frustration can disguise themselves as something harmless. If I give in to their ugly persuasion, they will surely rise up inside of me and try to escape through my words where they can do insurmountable damage. It is easy to hold back? Not always. Is it important? Yes. It’s absolutely vital.
I’m not talking about behavior modification. I mean allowing God into the depths of our heart so that the source of our words will be pure and holy and loving. Words are simply the manifestation of what’s going on inside of us.
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
“Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.” Proverbs 11:12
If our first reaction is to “blaaaaaaaaa”, then let’s go to the source – our hearts. Let’s ask the Lord to show us the parts of our heart that we’ve kept closed off to Him & that cause us to feel like those words should be said.
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18