The following scripture from James 3 has always been one of those that sort of makes me cringe. Because, well, this is just an area of mine that needs constant supervision. As I've matured, and also found a level of maturity in my Christian walk, I have somewhat improved.
1. Let not many [of you] become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment. 2. For we all stumble in many [ways]. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 3. Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they may obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4. Behold, the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder, wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and [yet] it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6. And the tongue is a fire, the [very] world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of [our] life, and is set on fire by hell. 7. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by the human race. 8. But no one can tame the tongue; [it is] a restless evil [and] full of deadly poison. 9. With it we bless [our] Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10. from the same mouth come [both] blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11. Does a fountain send out from the same opening [both] fresh and bitter [water]?
Ouch, what did I tell you?
My husband and I are total opposites in this area. He has always been reserved and a "man of few words". I, on the other hand usually have a comment or opinion and therefore it's been difficult for me to try to "tame my tongue." Once, after we had been married about fifteen years, and after a situation arose from my "loose lips" my husband commented to me that he was beyond understanding why I felt the need to "vomit out of my mouth every thing I thought", or words similar to that. Unfortunately the word "vomit" really hit hard. Not a pretty picture, and it caused me to start thinking about it. Then to start praying about it.
Taming the tongue.
I guess it goes hand in hand with that "fruit of the Spirit" called self-control. Anyway, I have to be shown this scripture on a regular basis, so as to be reminded. But I have learned this is not something that I can accomplish by myself. It totally takes the power of the Holy Spirit to get this under control.
(see verse 8). And as verse 2 says, I am not a "perfect" person, so as a Christian and then as one who has been a (verse 1) "teacher", I've had to be doubly vigilant about my tongue and the words I speak. How many times have I asked God to put His hand over my mouth so as not to say the wrong thing? Poison, that's what our tongues can be. Filled with venom, bitterness and strife, that can infect others, and situations.
I used to think I had to have the "last word" on things. Good grief, it was a compulsion. I also thought it was my duty to correct others, take over, and get credit for what I had done. Then there were words of gossip, revenge, and sometimes just plain being hateful. (That was more as a 13 yr. old) It's amazing to look back at all the times I wished I could take back or undo things I have said, especially with my children and husband. Many times a difficult situation was made much worse, from my words that were not being inspired by God.
A horse, a ship, and a fire; all such good examples of what this small little "instrument" called the tongue, can do in our life.
I desire to have my mouth filled with praise and blessing, not cursing and hurtful words. And of interest here, cursing does not just mean "cussing", but saying things to and about people that are against God's will for them. Such as saying "you'll never amount to anything!", "you're dumb", "you never...(this or that)", "you always...(insert favorite demeaning thing here)". Basically dominating our thinking and will, upon someone else.
Oh and my favorite kind of cursing? This came out of a pastor's mouth. "If you leave this church you will be out of the will of God. No telling what will happen to you, but it won't be good."
Think not only for the negative but for the positive. Let's look at this scripture from the other direction now. What if we are given the opportunity to say good things, but don't? What if we don't speak up when we have a chance to help, encourage, or bless others?
There are many scriptures in the Psalms and in Proverbs about our mouths, but the one that really says it all to me is Matthew 12:34 where Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees when He says. "...out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." I have changed alot from those days, but it's still easy to slip back at times. Stress, fatigue, being "over busy", those are all things that can cause me to slip. My daily prayer is to honor God with my words and attitudes. I want my heart filled with the love of Jesus, so what I say to anyone and about anyone, is born out of godly thoughts and ideas.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.
Blessings (and no cursing)
P.S. Great comments yesterday! Love hearing them! And I just want to encourage all you readers just to check in and say "Hey!" I know myself, sometimes there's alot to think on with someone's post and maybe I haven't formulated a thought yet. If so, don't be afraid to just leave a comment that says. "Hi, I dropped by and just read the post." And PLEASE don't feel like you're not part of the group! I so want everyone to feel comfortable. Believe me. I'm not a scholar or "professional" here, just a woman who is not afraid to share her life and love for Jesus!