I had a situation arise this week and a dear friend of mine needed help – let’s just say – stating the facts “in love”. I’ve said before that I have a very quick tongue, much quicker than my brain and it made me stop and think long and hard about this challenge of mine. The Bible has a lot to say about this particular issue.
“You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit”
“You love every harmful word, O you deceitful tongue!”
“They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows.”
I have always been a very firm believer that we can and should speak the truth constructively. It’s ok to speak up as long as we do it lovingly, but how do we do this? I’m speaking from personal experience here, but the first thing I do is saturate the situation in prayer. I have a very bad habit of flying off the handle and lashing out when I’ve been hurt or wrongful accused and I’ve had to eat my words on more than one occasion. It’s so easy to want to be heard- to only see it our way. There’s an old saying “walk a mile in other’s moccasins’, how true is this? If we want to be heard and understood, we have to also understand where the other person is coming from. We need to ask God to show us both sides, to be sensitive and understanding- this can be so hard to do.
Nothing is harder for me than to have someone right in my face letting it all out and me having to hold my tongue. The older I get the better I’ve become at holding it but it’s important when all you want to do is yell your side of the situation right back at them. Yelling, screaming, crying, being dramatic is something that for some people comes naturally. Not for all, but for some and those people sometimes just happen to be the ones I deal with in my life.
Something else that I’ve had to learn the hard way is to not say I’m sorry if I’m not. If I’m in the wrong and know it, that’s different, but I had a very wise woman once tell me “Right Thoughts follow Right Actions”- do the right thing and you’ll feel better about it later. And I believe this to be true. I spent the majority of my younger life saying “I’m sorry you feel that way”… was I really? - No, not always. So, I’ve learned not to say I’m sorry right off the get go.
We do so much talking that we fail to stop and listen. Jesus was such an example of love and tenderness. I’m sure during His years on earth He had to listen to some of the most bogus explanations of human nature. I still struggle with what I want to justify as “righteous anger”. I believe with all my heart that being a Christian does not mean being a ‘door mat”- but we are to love and speak in love and act in love. That is what separates us from the secular world. How we react reflects Christ in our lives. Our actions reflect who’s really in control. If we speak harshly and in anger, that does not reflect God’s Spirit in our hearts and minds.
Again, I am speaking from very personal experience. I have had to seek forgiveness on so many accounts of my tongue; I’m ashamed to admit it. But if my mistakes can help one person to stop and pray before they speak, then that’s one less word that cuts like a knife. It helps me be more accountable and it’s one less emotional scar and that makes the world a little better place to be in.
Please try and pray- give God control of your tongue and actions- you will find that you will see the situation differently and react differently and because of that- you will represent Him the way He intends for you too- Give Him control and let Him handle it. He’s “got your back”…now let Him have your tongue as well!
"Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure”