Thursday, January 7, 2010

Well, shut my mouth!

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.

Version: NAS
James 3:1-11

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.

Psalm 19:14
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!


  1. Good study. I love learning/teaching about our 'words' and the power they carry.
    We used to teach Marriage Enrichment Classes and shared how the words "You never" and "You always" shouldn't be spoken to a spouse even when we're upset or angry. Our words carry spiritual and emotional weight and we never know when one word might affect a person for life!
    And when we taught a course on Generational Sins and Curses, we shared about the power of our words and how our words literally bless or curse our own children and their children. I know most of us today still hold memories of a harsh word that came from our parents! It affected us (sometimes to this day!) and how we relate to and treat others.
    When we use words like 'stupid, ugly, dumb, idiot' etc. and when we say things like, "I'm gonna kill you" or even when we speak things like: "You're gonna catch pneumonia!" "You're never going to amount to anything!" - we are 'cursing' our children.
    But when we watch how we phrase things and we try to speak positive and loving words, we are blessing our children, "You can do it" "I'm proud of you" "You did good!" "I may not like what you did, but I love you!"
    If we admit it, it's very easy and it just plain ol' feels good to just 'spout off' whatever comes to our minds (especially the negative stuff). Most people call it 'venting'! And I think we've all vented our share.
    And no matter how hard we try, we simply don't have the power in and of ourselves to stop or to change our words and how they affect others. That change has to be done from within - it's a heart change that has to take place. And only a loving God who cares about us and others - can do that - if we want Him to change the way we speak.
    "Create in me a clean heart - and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Ps. 51:10) "... take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5)
    Sorry I got so lengthy here, but I think this is an EXCELLENT study Debra. Good job!

  2. Hello Debra, thank you for understanding that we do not always have the time to leave a thoughtful message.

    I am always working on my tongue.....I like your husbands use of the word vomit. I really is a fitting discription. Blessings, sandi

  3. Good Morning Debra
    A good post for all of us...just last night I slipped a bad word in frustration with this computer to the store clerk, I knew immediately and repented but I thought about how long I have been a Christian and that slipped out so is not the word that troubled me a four letter word is just that but the attitude was not of faith or selfcontrol-that clerk did not see Jesus last night. It is a glimpse into my state right now - I let my day go by riding on the wave of business and do not have control and do not have my priorities in check. And that not only affects my spiritual life but every aspect of my life. My nature is to be free and just go with the flow - a good day for me is to have nothing on my calendar, I need to temper that with dicipline and I cannot do that on my own but Christ in me can. I am nothing without Christ...He is my strength and my salvation. I need to see that in every situation and call upon that strength...the dicipline to know I can do all things through Christ and not spin out of control or say something that isn't Christlike.
    Thank you always right on track.

  4. Another great post!!! You have such a way of getting to the heart of the matter!!!

    Thank you for all of the inspiring words!!!


  5. Good cold morning to you: Sometimes it does take a lot of self control to tame the tongue and our thought process that makes that tongue blast off! I'm glad you posted this, I for one needed this medication. Thanks.

  6. yesterday or the day before i thought about this Scripture in reference to judging wrongly...thank you for the reminder -- i must still need to "chew" on this for a while. at least my mouth won't be talking when i'm chewing (bad manners). *smile*

  7. I just learned this week that something I said to my daughter years ago really hurt her and has stayed with her. At first I was insulted that she would hang on to it all these years - especially because I have tried to be a great Mom. So you can see by my reaction it "was all about me." Of course I am sorry and would never intentionally hurt her. After all these years of being a Believer, I am still so gullible and that sin nature so evident. I read the Beatitudes and have been thinking a lot about my words - and now this post is like a lightening bolt! I am going to make Psalm 19:14 my prayer and will be spending some time with the Lord asking Him to apply this teaching to my heart and forgive me for those hurtful words.


  8. This is definitely my weak area in my marriage. I have so much trouble keeping my tongue under control. It is a daily battle for me. I can be quite sassy at times and downright mean if I want to really hurt my hubby's feelings when we are arguing about something...not proud of that. It's a work in progress.

    Thanks Debra! Blessings!


  9. Loose lips sink is hard to stay a float in my world... this is a tuffy.

  10. Deb, Love hearing what you have to say on this, we are two spiritual peas in a pod! You added some wonderful thoughts to all this, thank you for taking the time to leave such a great comment!

    Hey Sandi, yeah, there's just something SO descriptive about that word! All kinds of connotations can go with that. God was really using my husband that day! LOL!

    Rebecca, in the middle of the night I woke up thinking that I needed to make that same admission. There is a word that seems to have a mind of it's own in my mouth and indeed it flys out at times. I really hate it! I'ts just like a little demon at times and I'm asking the Lord to let me feel it coming so as to prevent it. So hey, you're not the only one, girlfriend!

    Janean, Judging wrongly, yep, I'm doing better, but I used to be pretty quick with first impressions and saying what I thought. I have difficulty at times waiting to let the Lord show me what's going on.

    Rebecca S. That happened to me. I had said and done many things that my daughter had been hurt by. I didn't mean them, and didn't consider them as hurtful, but she had been badly wounded. It was how she perceived them that was the point. God instructed me to write her a letter of apology which was the beginning of our relationship "turn-around".

    Adrienne, me too. sassy and downright mean. Don't you just love that we are all really letting all the dirty laundry be shown?!

    Cathy, Theresa and Lee, thanks gals for chiming in. I know your "with" me!

    I think this is like what the scripture tells us to do "confess our sin, one to another".
    Thank you all for "bearing witness" to all mine.

  11. I needed this reminder today. Hubby is in pain from his accident and not his normal considerate self. I have been a little put out because I have had to pick up the slack around here and so I have been a crab about his behavior. I need to buck up for sure and keep my mouth shut. Please include him in your prayers his surgery is Monday to put back together the very broken collar bone and hold it together with a plate so it heals correctly.

  12. Brenda,your husband will be in my prayers. I know it's super hard when there's so much to do and nerves and tempers are strained. Hang in there. We'll be praying for you both!
    love Debra

  13. Great post, Debra! So many of our problems originate with what we say, don't they? Sometimes we just need to remember the language of silence. I know this is something we can all work on. Thanks for your transparency. :)

  14. I'm beginning to think you and I are related.... ;-)

    So many similarities, the good, the bad and the ugly! Like you, I am the smart-mouthed one in my marriage, the one who is most likely to, ahem, express myself "freely", shall we say.

    It doesn't always come out pretty, and oft-times, it can be downright hateful and hurtful.

    I pray for the strength and wisdom to choose my words carefully, and to honor Him with each utterance. Thank you so much for holding a mirror up for me, dear friend!


  15. Hi Debra & everyone. Well as ya'll know by now I'm always a day late (and usually a dollar short),LOL. I usually print the message so I can ponder the words for awhile. Of course this doesn't make me come up with any astounding revelations to share with all of you but I get a lot out of it for me.

    I usually don't have harsh words for anyone, that are spoken out loud anyway ~ shamefully admitted. Don't get me wrong. I can be as catty at the next person. Ya'll remember days at the mall, laughing and giggling and wondering where these people come from. Like I'm any better - please! I've tried to get better about this and I would never intentionally stare at anyone or say anything that would hurt another's feelings. But when a stranger jumps in my face, I can give it back. Now, I am trying to not even do that.

    But the one person who can really pull my strings is Neil. He has a tongue as sharp as any sword I've ever know. I know he has a loving heart as he shows it towards the homeless and others. But he just loves to keep me riled up! And over all these years I have learned how to be as venomous to him as he is to me. Isn't that just awful? Worse than that and terribly sad. I'd never in my life been like this to anyone or had anyone hurt me like that.

    Please pray for me and my household. I'm very ashamed of this. Now, I know what you all must be thinking....that I must be a really awful person, a fake nice person, but I promise you what you've seen before with me, is the real me. Some call it stupid. When you're too nice or smile to much, people tend to think your a ditz or your either a fake. I've been told this by people who said "I didn't like you, I don't know why, I thought you were a fake sweet or spoiled only to find out I was wrong". (We usually became good friends after that). But it took me going out of my way to make them feel comfortable while they were giving me the cold should. Gosh, I'm sorry I made this all about me and went on and on.

    What I was getting at is, Debra you post is so right on for so many. the most painful thing and as embarrassed as I am to admit that my household is not blessed, the Lord is blessing my heart. I hope you'll pray with me that the holy spirit fills the walls of my home and cleanses the souls of it's inhabitants.

    Warm hugs, Tracy

  16. What a wonderful witness you and this blog are. I've enjoyed reading the last couple of posts and the comments, and I'll definitely be back. Thank you for listening when God speaks to you. laurie


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