I really love my mama.
She knows who I am, but sees who I was created to be, and she reminds me of who that is all the time.
This used to drive me nuts.
I am a person who is very black and white. Things either are or they aren’t. So when I would say “I’m sick.” and she would come back with “No, you are healthy and strong. You walk in perfect health.” I felt like she didn’t listen to me. When I would complain about someone or something, she would always counter it by reminding me of something good. And I would think “MOM. I JUST WANT TO COMPLAIN.”
And that’s the problem. Why would someone want to complain?
Because there are power in our words, and if we can keep speaking negatively about ourselves and our situation, the enemy holds the power over those things.
If something is clearly wrong, I don’t need to say it’s wrong. If someone is bothering me, I don’t need to tell someone else about it. The phrase “misery loves company” is so true. Bitterness breeds like rabbits and spreads like wildfire.
Almost all of James chapter 3 talks about taming the tongue. He compares the tongue to the rudder of a ship, and how such a little piece of the ship can completely change its direction. James also points out that you cannot get fresh water from a salt spring, or an olive from a fig tree. So if you are speaking negative things, it’s a pretty good indication of what is in your heart.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a “believer”, think about people who recite affirmations to overcome depression and eating disorders. Think about how when something terrible happens, people say “It’ll be ok.” Compliments, praise, encouragement… we like to speak into others’ lives.
Words have power to change us.
In America, I think sometimes knowing we have the “right” to say something prevents us from asking ourselves if it’s right to say it. I’m not trying to suggest that speech should be censored by other people, but I am saying, should we be censoring ourselves?
As a Christian, I believe that what I say does matter. It not only changes a situation, but it also reveals my heart.
As someone who has a very sarcastic sense of humor, I have a hard time taming my tongue… because even though I don’t really mean what I’m saying, I’m still putting those words out there for someone to misunderstand and see me in a light that I never wanted to be seen in.
As someone who is non-confrontational and vents to release frustration, I have a hard time taming my tongue… because sometimes I convince myself that it’s better to air out my frustrations, not realizing that I’m planting a seed in someone else’s ear that can grow into a whole different issue…
So is making a joke or venting really worth it? No.
Words have the power to change things.
God spoke the world into being. Jesus cast out demons just by telling them to get lost. The apostles just said “Get up and walk” to a lame man, and he did.
So what would happen if we all started speaking up instead of down?
What if we started realizing what is coming out of our mouths is a reflection of what’s inside us… and maybe realize the problems around us aren’t being solved by our negativity… One of the seven habits of highly effective people is to begin with the end in mind… so if we look at something and say “it’s never going to happen” are we really going to work as hard to see that it does happen?
I’m not talking about lying to ourselves just to make us feel better… I’ve been really disappointed by some things going on lately. But instead of saying the country is doomed… I can instead use that breath to say a prayer. I haven’t been the best at doing this- especially lately- but I know it is better to pray than to complain… so this is my new goal…
“All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:7-8)”
sigh… I never said it was going to be easily achieved… help me, Lord…
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. –Luke 6:45