I have a big fat trap…. called my mouth, my tongue…. And oftentimes things come out of it that I regret, feel bad about and am sorry about later. And one thing is for sure, once we release “the words of our mouth” – we can’t take them back.
The tongue – what evil can come out of it… blessings or cursings. I know it’s up to us. It’s a choice we have to make.
- Yelling and screaming at my kids when they were young, and I was an exhausted and a busy working mom. Often I was just yelling over something stupid like to put their toys up or get dressed for school.
- Getting mad at the store clerk in Publix or Walmart when probably they have no control over the situation, and they are just doing the best they can.
- Lashing out at my husband for not doing something I expected him to do like run an errand for me, or do the dishes.
- When I’ve made a negative comment about a dear friend behind her back to someone else.
And the list goes on and on – too many times, too many circumstances to count… but you get the general idea. And, maybe you have done or reacted similarly.
We often don’t realize the damage our “tongue” can cause until we’ve already said those words…and we can’t reclaim them.
The Bible in the book of James says:
“So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!” (James 3:5 – NAS)
And we read further in that same chapter:
“From the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.” (James 3:10 – NAS)
However, there are a couple of things that have often helped me in this journey:
- I try to gain control of my emotions before I speak. Give yourself time to think clearly before you respond.
- Think briefly about why the person may have said what they did. They could just be having a bad day, or they don’t like themselves very much. Sometimes, people are mean to others because it makes them feel better about themselves – and truly – embarrassingly enough, I have done this, also. Sometimes, mean comments are made out of frustration. We may be unaware that we are behaving in a way that has caused others to become frustrated, and they don’t know how to tell us.
- Take a deep breath…. count a few seconds at least before you talk. This gives your brain time to re-engage before speaking.
- Respond, don’t just react out of anger. Think it through! Chances are, the person who just uttered the mean comments reacted instead of responding.
- Sometimes, it’s just best to say nothing and walk away. Be silent if you must, walk away before you regret what comes out of your mouth! In other words, don’t get sucked into the drama!
- Bless someone with kind words or a kind gesture if you can. I mean, don’t be fake about it, but do it if you mean it. Get in the habit of kinder, gentler words to others – who knows, you could develop a good habit!
Some scriptures on this subject that have helped me:
“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse…” (Deuteronomy 11:26 – NIV)
I have to really think about whether I am just going to badmouth, be negative or “curse” someone…. or be a blessing with kindness and caring words … it is a challenge, and I often fall short.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14 – KJV)
I’m listening, Lord!