I was in the 7th grade at a track meet. I was irritated at a teammate. I ran up to a group of runners from my school and started gossiping about the girl. Everyone was perfectly still. No one said a word.
I looked down at the girl sitting at my feet and it was the very one I was talking about.
That’s a hard lesson for a 13 year old girl who wants to be seen as a Christian on campus.
My mouth has always gotten me in trouble.
I said it.
It’s a confession: I talk too much.
Oh, I’m not a gabber. I hate talking on the phone and I really only blab one-on-one. I’m the quiet one in a crowd.
But I would say 95% of the trouble I get myself into is tongue-related. The other 5% is eating too much, also related. Hmmm….
It’s not so much quantity of words, it’s more quality. Whether it’s conflict with my husband, strife with my kiddos or chatting with a girlfriend, I usually end up regretting what comes out of my mouth.
The Bible offers some great advice on shutting it.
This truth in James 3 is just plain painful:
5-6 It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.
7-10 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
The tongue- a wild, wanton killer. That about sums it up. I engage verbally with my tween when I should just hush. I throw out the last word with my hubby when I should be quiet.
But the power of the tongue is two-fold! I love the promise my lips hold. I love that when I choose to speak life, it encourages, uplifts, blesses.
It all comes down to a controlled choice.
Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. I Peter 3: 8
I’m thankful for the work of the cross, new mercies every morning. I still struggle in this area, almost daily.
Five Reasons I Need to Hush: (Also titled: Five Truths God is Teaching Me about my Big Mouth)
1. What’s in my heart comes out of my mouth: If my heart isn’t in the right place, my words will be a reflection. “From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh…” When my words are negative, when I’m complaining more than praising or in verbal conflict, I usually need a heart checkup. I often find that my lack of control is closely related to my lack of time with God.
2. I can have a greater impact in the conversation by listening more: Memorize James 1:19-20 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
3. It’s often our tendency to tear down, rather than build up: It’s amazing the difference I see in my kids when I choose the option of building up and affirming them instead of criticizing their behavior or actions.
4. If my words aren’t healthy or redemptive to the person receiving it, I shouldn’t say them. Ask yourself: Will the people I’m talking to walk away encouraged or discouraged by my words?
5. Be spiritual by being quiet. My pastor says “Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is be quiet.” Just hush.
Take the Word Challenge
Since this is an area of weakness for me, I decided to challenge myself to be quiet for an entire day. It’s not that I didn’t say anything, I just made an effort to make my words meaningful and encouraging. It was really challenging when it came to disciplining my kids. I noticed my ugly tendency to tear down. I encourage you to try it and ask God to reveal truth to you if you struggle in this area.
Written by Kristen Welch, We are THAT family