"Be careful little mouth what you say,/ be careful little mouth what you say,/ for the Father up above is looking down with love,/ so be careful little mouth what you say." (Public Domain)
This song, one I learned as a small child, came to mind today as I thought of a friend who had just been hurt by the words of someone she loved.
Words are powerful things. The book of Proverbs says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21a). You can bring life with your words, or you can pull the life out of someone with your words. It is a sad thing to me that many Christians, knowing this truth, fail to keep a daily watch over their words.
I had a friend who told her children to watch their words to their friends. She would say, "You can't unscramble eggs. Once the words are out there, they are forever out there. You can apologize, but the words are still there."
This is so true. I don't know of anything more difficult to get past than unkind words spoken by someone you love. They go deep, they hurt and they can produce long-term, devastating effects. Thank God for the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all things!
Matthew 15:10-11 says, "He called the crowds and said to them, 'Hear and understand: That which goes into the mouth does not defile a man, but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.'"
The Bible says by our words we are justified and by our words we are condemned (see Matt. 12:37). It is what comes out of our mouth that will defile us. The word "defile" means unclean. It is what comes out of our mouth that can make us unclean in the eyes of God.
Proverbs 12:18 says, "There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise is health" (Prov. 12:18).
James 1:26 says, "If anyone among you seems to be religious and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is vain."
I could go on and on with Scriptures about the words of our mouth, for the Bible has much to say on this subject, but, I think you get the picture.
Today I want to encourage you to watch your words. I realize we all have an opportunity to speak harsh words, especially when we feel we are being mistreated or attacked, however, words spoken out of our mouth, cannot be erased. Remember what my friend says: You can't unscramble eggs.
Here are four ways to make sure the words of our mouth are always pleasing to God.
- Think before you speak.
"Therefore, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger" (James 1:19).
If we would do this one thing, it would make an incredible difference: Think before you speak and be slow to answer. Weigh your answer by the word of God before you speak.
- Ask yourself, Is what I am about to say the truth?
"He who would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit" (1 Pet. 3:10).
"These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness who speaks lies, and he who sows discord among brethren" (Prov. 6:16-20).
- Are Your Words Kind and Spoken in Love?
"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones" (Prov. 16:24).
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger" (Prov.15:1).
"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the teaching of kindness" (Prov. 31:26).
"A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it crushes the spirit" (Prov. 15:4).
- Will Your Words Bear Good Fruit?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23).
I will never forget the time I interviewed a well-known minister. She shared something with me, and then she stopped and said, "Can you delete that please, although it is true, it will not bear good fruit."
Those words have stuck with me for years and is often the ruler by which I measure truth filled words, before I repeat them. You may indeed know the truth about a person or a situation, however, that is not reason enough to repeat what you know. You must ask yourself, "What kind of fruit will it bear if I repeat this?" If it is not a fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control, then it is probably not worth repeating.
Words hurt, and God never meant for us to use them to hurt others. There is great power in our words, and He expects us to use that power for good, not for evil.
In the Amplified Bible, James 3:10 says: "Out of the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. These things, my brothers, should not be this way [for we have a moral obligation to speak in a manner that reflects our fear of God and profound respect for His precepts]."
We have a moral obligation to speak in a way that reflects our fear of God and our respect for His Word. If we can remember this one Scripture, we will do well.
Today, my prayer for all of us is this: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer" (Ps. 19:14, MEV).
Kim Potter is a writer and founder of A New Thing Ministries, which sends a daily teaching to over ten thousand people all around the world.
Her message is a message of hope. She speaks to the heart of women and men who have become discouraged and disappointed by the circumstances they may face in life, imparting to them the desire and ability to stand against all odds and see themselves as victorious and able to overcome every obstacle through God. She encourages people to press into God and discover that He is who He says He is. For additional information, go to: anewthingministries.com.
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