“I was out in the front yard the other day,” Stan commented one morning. “I was trimming the rose bushes and I heard some of the neighborhood children playing. One of the children said something I reflected on and know isn’t true.”
“What?” I asked.
“I didn’t hear what the first child said to the other,” Stan replied, “but the second child recited the old English children’s rhyme, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words shall never hurt me’.”
“The one child,” Stan responded, “obviously said something to the other that wasn’t particularly nice, but the child’s response isn’t true. Words can and do hurt. They can do lasting damage. Maybe even for a lifetime.”
“Sounds like you may have some experience with that,” I commented.
“Way too much,” he replied. “And there’s another expression that reflects a lot of things that have caused trouble in my life.”
“Engage brain before putting mouth in gear!” Stan said with a smile.
Continuing, he added, “There have been so many times when I have said something to another person, especially my wife, that I regretted as soon as the words came out of my mouth. But once the words are out, they can’t be taken back. They have done their damage.”
“Anything you can do about that?” I asked.
“Confess, ask for forgiveness, and repent,” Stan replied. “And the most important part about repenting is, I think, to pay attention to all that God has to say about this and continually ask for His help with how James describes my tongue.”
“Describes your tongue?” I said. “What’s that?”
“He describes it as a restless evil full of deadly poison,” Stan replied.
“Sounds like the snake in the garden,” I commented.
“Sure does,” Stan said “but if I give my tongue to God, along with everything else about me, if I surrender all of me to His leading through His Holy Spirit, there’s a much better chance that I’m not going to be hurting other people with the words that come out of my mouth!”
Bible verses to consider:
But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. James 3:8-10.
And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned. Matthew 12:36-37.
Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent. Proverbs 17:28.
Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. James 1:19.
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth . . . . Ephesians 4:29.
The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. Matthew 12:34.
Prayer: Father, I come before you in confession that too often I speak hurtful words, words that do not bring you honor and glory. Please forgive me the foolishness of not taking every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus before I allow those words to be spoken and cause damage to others, particularly to those who are closest to me. Please help me in following every step of your lead in giving you all of me, including my tongue, so I manifest you to others, not defile you by the words I allow out of my mouth. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you used your mouth to confess Jesus so that you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with the words you speak on this side of eternity? Do you too often say things you immediately regret? If so, what’s that all about? If you sense the need for change in what comes out of your mouth, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?