The Runaway Mouth

7 Aug

My mind is still reeling a little from last week’s brouhaha that took place in the media, on Facebook, Twitter, and at thousands of Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country.  I can’t help but think there were people on both sides of the issue who were running off at the mouth in shockingly ugly ways.  There were also some voices of reason in the midst of the chaos.  Perry Noble and Jen Hatmaker just to name two.  While still other well-known and well-respected people (wisely) chose to remain silent on the issue, possibly making them the smartest of all.

It’s left me thinking a lot these past few days about how our words can have such a HUGE impact in both good and bad ways.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – Proverbs 12:18

I am tempted more times than I care to admit to allow my mouth to get ahead of my brain.  Sometimes, {sigh} I even encourage my mouth in spite of the fact that I know it shouldn’t say what it’s about to say.  And even other times {shamefully}, I actually pat myself on the back for stinging someone with a real zinger.

Do you see someone who speaks in haste?  There is more hope for a fool than for them. – Proverbs 29:20

But I’m growing and changing and trying to coral this mouth of mine.  I’m better about this than I used to be.  I don’t get the short-lived thrill I used to feel by dishing out a retort that stung even more than the initial comment.  I’ve softened {thankfully}.  Or maybe the better way to put it is – God has softened me.  Through reading His Word and letting it soak into me, I’ve learned how powerfully positive and how nauseatingly negative my words can be.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. – James 1:26

There are, literally, countless verses in the Bible that reference our mouths, our tongues, our speech, and our conversations with others.  All of the verses give similar instruction: the wise are slow to speak, be gentle with your words, speak only if necessary, and only say what is useful for building up others.

  • Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – Romans 14:19
  • Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity. – Proverbs 21:23
  • Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29
  • Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues. – Proverbs 10:19
  • Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues. – Proverbs 17:28
  • But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. – Matthew 12:36
  • May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

I’ve learned there is nothing to be gained by making someone else feel bad with my words, other than giving myself an inflated ego and warped sense of self-importance.  Even though my mind thinks it will make me feel better to do so, my heart knows the truth.  Ultimately, my harsh words will always do more damage than good.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

I want to have a powerfully positive impact on people.  What about you?  Is there someone who could use a good word from you today?  Some encouragement?  A gentle, gracious response instead of the response your impulse would like to give?  Ask God to give you the wisdom and grace to know how to respond today, and then give it your best effort.  I think you’ll be amazed at the positive outcome!

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. – Psalm 141:3

Did one of today’s verses speak to you?  Share it in the comments.  Maybe you could work on memorizing it so that you will be able to easily recall it when placed in high-temper, high-emotion situations?  I might need to memorize ALL of them.  {grin}

♥ Rachel

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2 Responses to “The Runaway Mouth”

  1. Jennifer August 7, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    I agree with you, Rachel. Here is one of my favorite quotes that many last week should have remembered. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of US (1809 – 1865)

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