Have you ever said something stupid that pretty much as soon as it left your mouth you wish you could take it back? Or maybe you said something that was taken out of context and/or misunderstood by someone and it wreaked a lot of havoc? Boy, I have! It happens to me much more than I’d ever like to admit… usually happens on days when I’m physically, spiritually or emotionally weary and/or when I’m carelessly trying to be funny…
God’s Word has a lot to tell us about our words and how constructive or destructive they can be…
So, what makes the difference?
Like I said… I usually get my words all twisted up when I’m physically tired or emotionally drained… or when I’m focused less on the eternal (i.e. Advancing God’s Kingdom) and more on the temporal (i.e. trying to make people think I’m fun, clever, knowledgeable or funny). When we are worn out (like I am this week) or out of focus our hearts can get our priorities out of whack and this can lead to us saying things we might normally had avoided saying if our hearts were peacefully resting in God… I don’t know about you, but when I’m tired I have to fight becoming ego-centric (thinking everything is about me)… For me this shows up by my being cranky and/or by saying something utterly stupid… Again… this happens far more than I’d like and I’ve found myself having to apologize – which is never a “fun” proposition.
What does God’s Word have to say?
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45
Ouch!!! And as a person on staff at a wonderful church the next passage (James 3:1-10) sometimes stings even more:
Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check… The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.
So, what must be done? Daily (at minimum) heart-checks through Bible study and Prayer… Reading, Memorizing, Meditating on and Praying back God’s Word… Submitting to the Holy Spirit who will empower us to be and do more and more like Jesus…
Popping off and saying stupid stuff is a very “worldly” thing to do… Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 that we are to avoid being like “the world” and we are to this by transforming our lives (heart) by the renewing of our minds… See, above, in Luke, Jesus said that our tongues are controlled by our hearts and in James God tells us that our life-direction is set by our words… Paul tells us we can transform our lives and break from old worldly patterns by renewing our mind… He also suggests elsewhere (Philippians 4:8, see below) that this is done by meditating on certain aspects of God’s Word and works:
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
This is just the medicine that I need to prevent the destructive sickness of foot-in-mouth-itis that plagues me from time to time… To help this preventive medicine along I’m going to daily “self-medicate” on Philippians 4:8 (i.e. I’m going to remind myself of this passage to start each day)… Focusing on the things this verse tells us to focus upon should do wonders for my attitude and miracles with my words (both spoken AND written).
Additionally, at least once each day (and probably more) I will pray aloud Psalm 19:14… I’m trusting God’s Word that this frequent renewing of my mind will continually transform my life to look more and more like Jesus and, in doing so; God will also be able to use me to progressively and positively impact people’s lives with His love.
Will you also take up the challenge of starting off each day by reading/meditating on Philippians 4:8 and in making Psalm 19:14 a regular part of your daily prayer life?
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer (Ps 19:14).
I must admit that I have done this too many times. I’ve even eaten sandwiches out of the church fridge that wasn’t mine —
“Meditating on and Praying back God’s Word… Submitting to the Holy Spirit who will empower us to be and do more and more like Jesus…”
Outstanding post! This meditating on of Scripture, and praying it back, combined with continually doing what the Holy Spirit asks, *instantly*, as God brings it to mind ~ these are what brings us daily, moment by moment, in the Presence of “the Real Joy-Giver”! THANKS for writing this! Blessings on you as you write! — gracie;-)
p.s. Actually, Phil. 4:8’s in a frame on my wall in a conspicuous place, to help me stay “reminded” where I need to focus my thoughts and my words! I’d put Phil. 4:8 in my personal “Top 10”, or “Top 20” (if there were such a thing!) of “arsenal” verses!
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I’ve noticed that the increasing amount of communications via technological means is having an effect on this also. It’s easy enough to, in the heat of the moment, say something that you regret. It’s much easier to write a nastily worded email, blog post, or comment before thinking about what you’re writing. Typing without thinking also stems from the “race” to be the first to say something, because if you don’t get your word in first you might be ignored or passed by. While it’s easier to delete the said blog post, comment, and sometimes email, you can’t be certain it wasn’t seen and is truthfully deleted.
Do you think this is making people more accustomed and less offended by said remarks?
No. I think that, if anything, people are becoming more easily offended. It is much harder to interpret body language than is it a typed word. Some could type a remark as jest, and it be taken as being hurtful. I have been a victim of that. I have a….acquired taste. If I am not careful about the way I word my e-mails or posts…I will offend someone. The impersonal method of communication (e-mails, IM, etc…) is much more difficult to manage, and requires a whole new set of skills.