Peace family, how can we keep our words sweet today?
The Bible is clear about the power of our tongues to build up or tear others down. Whether we’re tired, sick, frustrated, or hurting, we still have a choice of how to speak to the people around us. I speak for a living, and I still struggle with this problem; I’m pretty sure that everyone does!
We all say things we regret from time to time. For example, I recently said something that was dishonoring about a good friend of mine. I was frustrated with my friend, and the coworker that I spoke to doesn’t even know that friend, but as soon as I said what I said (I wasn’t asking for advice or even explaining anything- I had no excuse), the Holy Spirit convicted me. I thought, “Wow, there was no reason for me to say that and point out my other friend’s faults.” I felt like a big jerk.
It was an unloving thing for me to do, I apologized to God, and it made me re-evaluate my speaking habits. I want to have a life that loves my friends and honors them, and doesn’t tear them down. I want to remember my own faults, and have grace for others.
If we aren’t speaking in a way that is unloving about someone else, it is also crazily easy sometimes to speak in a way that is unloving to someone else. We use rude tones of voice, and say rude things like, “Wake up!” if our friend doesn’t seem to be as focused on us as we’d like. We are impatient, and tell our loved ones, “Get to the point,” in a frustrated voice as they hem and haw or take longer to relate information than we’d like (I’ve been guilty of this one from time to time.) We are sarcastic, we scoff, and we talk as though we had everything all together, and are right about everything. Are we right about everything? Absolutely not. This attitude is not the love for others and humble spirit that God asks of us.
We can also get focused on negative things. Sometimes complaining can become a habit. We complain about our jobs, our families, our spouses, our children, strangers, the weather, our health, our houses… is it just me, or could most of the things I’ve mentioned above also be listed as a blessing?
There are all kinds of other ways we should be careful with our words- using language that honors or dishonors God, flattering others with insincere compliments, and speaking the truth or lying, hiding truths, and exaggerating, and not doing what we say we will do- but guarding our mouths in how we speak to and about others is a great place to start.
So how can we keep our words sweet? If we focus on God and his goodness and mercy, those are the quality of things that will most likely come out of us. If we are meditating on his scripture, and telling him about our frustrations through prayer, praying for those people and situations that hurt and anger us, then we won’t feel so compelled to complain. Let us live lives that love others well, including with our tongues.