“Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23 NKJV
This is a powerful proverb. And as I was led to use this verse for today’s post, I was troubled. Because truly, the Lord is speaking to me this week. I love to talk. As a child, my parents had to ask me to be quiet at the dinner table so that others could have a turn talking (There were six of us!). I just had so many things I wanted to tell, explain, question. As a young adult I chose to be a teacher, I do love working with kids; but could it also be because I love to be the one talking?? As a mother, I spoke to my babies constantly. Telling them what we were going to do each day, what they were going to wear, what the weather was. You get the idea. I could carry on a conversation with a sleeping infant and myself with no problem. I had to learn to tame my tongue!
And let’s face it, even now, I blog. I must feel I have something to say. Except now I try to let the Lord speak through me. I hope and pray that what I share touches someone in a positive and meaningful way and that they get something they can apply to their own lives. Or if nothing else, at least a little knowledge and a laugh.
This verse helped me when I was attempting to tame my tongue. “For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, you know it altogether” Psalms 139:4 These are strong words and a great reminder; the Lord knows every word we speak. Very humbling and tongue-controlling, I now have to consider what I say, how I say it, and to whom I say it.
Another favorite verse; “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!” James 3:5 All those negative words that can get us into trouble: gossiping, lying, judging, demeaning, condemning, bragging, bullying. Our words may start out as just a spontaneous comment, but if repeated and spread can do great damage. We have to use care in our words and consider what God might want us to say.
The one other thing that I have learned over the years in trying to tame my tongue is when not to speak at all. Sometimes all that is required is listening. Those of us who love to talk (me included) always want to contribute to the conversation or share our own experiences. But often times what the other person needs is just a compassionate and empathetic listener.
Last verse to guide us all; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 We get to choose whether our tongue gives “life” to someone or “death”, whether we build someone up or beat them down, whether we share God’s love or we share hate, whether we are positive or negative, whether we truly speak with God’s spirit or not. We choose, and with God’s help, the “fruit” we bear can change the world, one person/word at a time.
This week let’s ask God to help us “guard our tongues” and use our words to give life to those we meet along the path that God has chosen for us.
I thank God for each of you! And I thank you for joining me today to discuss the incredible power of our words.