Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
– Colossians 4:6
As I heard those destructive words fall out of my mouth, my heart stopped. All I wanted to do was reel them back in, rewind them, stop them from ever reaching her ears.. but I could see it was too late. The look on her face was more than enough to convince me that the damage had already been done.
The words that we say can destroy so much more than we ever really realize. They have the power to discourage, break down, offend, anger, confuse, cause insecurity, and more.
One of my most frequently occurring prayers is asking The Lord would to go ahead and muzzle me already. Ask my husband, I am an expert at allowing my emotions to run my mouth.. And, getting me to keep it shut? well that’s no easy feat. I know in my family I have caused more emotional damage with my words than I ever care to express.
It’s something I have to work on everyday, but I know that through diligence, perseverance, and the grace of The Lord, I will be able to overcome.
You see, words can either be our bestfriend or our worst enemy. The Bible says
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
But the tongue can no man tame, it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
– James 3:6-10
Well, I’d say that lays it out for us pretty clear as day. Our words can be awful things if we let them be. We have been given the ability to speak, but with this power comes great responsibility. (Yes, everyone credits this phrase to the creator of Spiderman, but the truth is that it is actually from The Bible…
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.
– Luke 12:48
We are called to use our words to encourage, edify, uplift. He has given us the ability of speech to bring glory to God, to build His kingdom, and to encourage others to live a life for Christ.
So the next time you are about to say something, ask yourself this..
“Will my words bring glory to Jesus?”
The Lord does not want us to be careless with what we say, but instead, we are called to carefully take into consideration what affects our words will have. If we are not wise, we can destroy so much.
Take it from me, I come from a long line of complainers.. It becomes a habit that goes deep. The more often those negative words come out of our mouth, the more likely we will continue to repeat them. And if we don’t choose to take charge of this awful habit, the harder it becomes to change later on.
Not only does it affect the people around us, but it also affects us. It steals our joy, our contentment, our peace.
And we also must not forget the little eyes that are always watching, listening, and copying. Our children see, and they follow our example. We probably don’t even realize it, but someday we will see the affects that our habits have had on our children.
Insults, Lies, Gossip, and Complaining.. 4 ways our words can lead down a destructive path. If we allow our flesh to rule, we will soon start to see these forms of speech become a repeating occurrence in our day.
Remember, the enemy absolutely loves it when we start spewing out hateful words, in fact, it’s probably one of his top strategies. Think about some of the biggest conflicts that you have had with another person (whether it’s family, friends, co-workers), now think about what it was that caused the conflict to escalate? I can almost guarantee it was words. Maybe it was started by something else, but hurtful words are what turns our disagreements into full blown wars.
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
– Proverbs 15:1
So what are some ways that we can stop our negative talk in it’s tracks?
Well, here are 6 strategies that I have learned:
Next time someone does something to annoy you, and all your flesh wants to do is throw out a few insults in their direction, stop yourself, and remind yourself of the love of Jesus. As soon as that argument starts to form, stop, and turn to God. Pray.. ask Him to fill you with His love, to cast out Satan’s lies from your mind, ask Him to give you the strength to show grace to the other person, and ask Him to give you wisdom in how you should respond. The Lord is more than faithful to give you all that you need to do what’s right.
Next time you hear some “juicy” gossip about someone else, instead of spreading that rumor further, pray for them. Don’t cause more damage to that person than has already been done by others, but pray that The Lord would strengthen them, touch their hearts, and comfort them.
Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
– Proverbs 26:20
Also, pray for conviction. This is a biggy. It is so important that we don’t harden our hearts against His conviction. It is not meant to condemn us or defeat us, but to correct us, and help us to become more like Him. It is not a punishment, but a gift.
My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
– Proverbs 3:11-12
PRAISE AND WORSHIP.
Praise and worship sets our minds straight. It takes our thoughts off of all the things that we think aren’t acceptable – ourselves, others, our situations, and brings our focus onto the One that is always good, always pure, always true. When you have had a bad day, stop talking about the people or situations in your life that are causing you to feel less than satisfied.. take it from someone who knows, it never helps..It may feed the flesh, but it leaves your soul feeling more hopeless than ever.
Instead, turn on a praise song, lift your hands, and give the glory to God.
Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.
– Psalms 106:1
Praise and worship has the power to eliminate all conflicts.. I remember a time when my husband and I were having a spat, our kids were not behaving (probably due to the tension we were causing), and everything seemed to be going wrong. All of a sudden The Lord pressed it upon my heart to start singing His praises, and almost instantly everything changed. My husband and I sincerely apologized to each other and our kids, and The Lord’s love filled our house.
The Lord has blessed us in more ways than we could ever imagine, or ever deserve. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, constantly whining about the things that don’t fit our expectations, lets look to Jesus, and remember His unfailing goodness.
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18
THE WORD OF GOD.
The Bible is full of more wisdom than we could ever fathom. If we choose to live in line with what it says, then we can never go wrong. If you are tempted to say hurtful words, open The Bible!.. If you are about to spread some gossip, open The Bible!.. If you are contemplating telling a lie, open The Bible!.. and if you are about ready to complain about everything and everyone, open your Bible!
Let the precious Word of God fill you, inspire you, and teach you exactly what words you should allow to proceed out of your mouth.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
– 2 Timothy 3:16-17
We need to open our eyes to the fact that the enemy is always trying to influence our thoughts, and in turn, our words. There is a constant battle raging between the spirit and the flesh. So, instead of listening to His lies, let’s listen to what the Word of our God tells us.
- KEEP YOUR MIND FILLED WITH RIGHTEOUS THOUGHTS.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
– Philippians 4:8
The Bible tells us that we need to keep our minds focused only on the things of God. If we turn our thoughts to the darkness of this world and all of the ungodliness that goes along with it, then sooner or later, that will become what we feel, and speak. The Bible tells us..
.. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
– Matthew 12:34
We must not allow our hearts to become filled with darkness and negativity. This may mean to stop watching TV shows, listening to music, or reading books that are not of God. The more that we surround ourselves with unrighteous things, the more it goes into us. Instead, we need to fill our minds with the things of Christ, and through that, we will begin to feel His peace, love, and joy fill us.. and tell me this, if you are filled with all of the beauty of Christ, how can anything but good come out of your mouth?
- WRITE DOWN SCRIPTURES, AND PUT THEM WHERE YOU WILL SEE THEM.
This is a wonderful trick to remind us, in those moments of weakness, to only speak God-honoring words, or to just keep our mouths closed all together.
Go through the Bible and choose some encouraging scriptures, or use the ones that I have listed, and write them down on scrap paper, sticky notes, fancy paper, whatever you want. Then tape them up in all of the areas that you see often.. kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room, your car, your phone, anywhere. This way, when you feel yourself start to go down that verbally destructive path, you will have The Lord’s mighty Word on hand to give you the strength, the wisdom, and the conviction that you need to speak correctly.
- SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE THAT WILL INFLUENCE YOU IN THE THINGS OF THE LORD.
Choose your friends wisely.. Who we spend our time with really does have a big influence on the way we act and speak. Of course, I do believe that we have the ability to choose our words, regardless of who is in our company, but honestly, if we don’t make a real point to watch how we talk, we will usually begin to copy others. Also, if some of your closest friends or family struggle with negative speaking patterns as well, then you can always work together to help each other develop better habits.
On top of these 6 strategies, another very important point we need to remember is that unbelievers will look at how we act and what we say as a representation of what it means to follow Christ.
Let’s not allow our flesh to be more important than our responsibilities as Christians. We are called to be a light in this dark world, a city on a hill. Let’s choose Jesus over our emotions every time. Let’s be an example of how amazing it is to be filled with the love of Christ by showing that same love to others, through our words.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
– Philippians 2:14-15
Again, I really do know how hard it is to keep our mouths shut when the emotions are rising.. but even so, it is very important that we learn to!
The Lord warns us..
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
– Matthew 5:22
Yeesh, if that’s not the conviction we need to keep our negative words to ourselves, then I don’t know what is.
But it’s true, it is very serious, this word business.. don’t ever take it lightly, don’t ever think that what you say doesn’t mean much, because it surly does! Depending on the path we choose, we can either encourage, edify, and uplift those around us, or we can do the opposite.. it’s our choice.
So what will we choose? I’d say, let’s choose to speak hope, love, joy, peace, strength, and most of all, Jesus! Because really, is the other option really an option at all?
So, although it can be a real struggle to manage this bad habit, remember friends, The Lord is a God of mercy and grace. Yes, He most certainly expects us to do all that we can to overcome our sinful ways, but He does not expect perfection. This is a sin-filled world, and we are sin-filled people, BUT through His unending love, and His amazing grace, we are able to look to Him for the strength to overcome all things.
(And hey, if you MUST gossip, complain, etc.. Just direct it to God, He can handle it. You won’t discourage Him or influence Him 😉 )
Do you struggle with your words? If so, are there any ideas that you have to help keep our words in line? Let me know in the comments!
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
– 1 Peter 2:9
There are referral links and affiliate links on this blog. This helps me to afford to keep this blog going, but won’t cost you anything.