Monday, February 25, 2013
Be careful little mouth what you say.
"How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness... With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come both blessing and cursing." -James 3: 5 and 9-10
Everyone has heard the phrase "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." And while I understand the point that it is trying to make, I don't want to teach my kids that. I want to teach my kids that if they can't say anything nice, they better check their hearts. I want to understand myself that if I can't say anything nice, it's probably not because the person or situation is hopeless but because my heart is too hard to see any good or too lazy to do anything to help.
I want you to know that this post is absolutely directed at myself. But something that has really bothered my lately is how easy it is to slip into this mindset where we think we can say whatever we want. I think about 1 Corinthians 14:26 ("...let all you do be done for building up.") everyday. How much of what I say can fall into the category of encouragement? What is it about our culture that makes us have to tell a better story or a funnier joke? What is it about me that makes me immediately text my roommate when someone says or does something stupid or embarrassing?
Particularly, I think we better be more aware of what we say to those we are close to. I constantly find myself thinking "Yeah, I probably shouldn't say this... but I'm only saying it to _____ so it's fine. They know what I mean by it." When does Jesus say it's okay to slander as long as the victim doesn't find out? Where in Scripture does it tell us not to spread rumors... as long as you clarify it by saying "now, I'm only telling you this..."?
When I was in kindergarten, if we told our teacher something that another kid did, she would literally pin this humiliating costume tail on the back of our pants and we had to wear it the rest of the day; everyone knew you were a tattle-tale. Obviously, that's a little drastic and I'm still recovering from some emotional scars that caused. But for crying out loud, if I had a tail for every time I told a friend someone else's sin or made someone else look bad, I'd have a pretty impressive tail. And not even as drastic as someone else's sin but just these nagging, petty little criticisms of other people that I just had to say.
I pray that I start seeing my own failures more clearly. I pray that I give other people a stinkin' break. I pray that everything I say will be for building up. I pray that God will close my mouth and open my heart.