It’s one simple phrase.
It’s a quick little sentence leaving my mouth. Often times, it happens so fast that I don’t even realize it.
In less than ten seconds I have the ability to say hurtful words that I can never take back.
Excuses like “I’m only venting to a friend” or “These word’s aren’t that bad” can clear my conscience for a while but deep down I know I am only lying to myself.
For years and years I kept telling myself that excuse and over and over again the cycle of gossip, drama, and un-Christlike behavior continued. As ashamed as I am to admit it, my word’s continued to cut the hearts of others and they left wounds that may not be seen, but that last a lifetime.
I am a woman. I love to talk and drama clings to me tighter than duct tape does to surfaces. As ashamed as I am to admit it, gossip is something I struggle with daily. I don’t intentionally go around talking bad about people. My problem is that when someone does something hurtful to me my first instinct is to bottle it up and then resort to venting to my friends. When my words are unkind and when they are repeated to a group of people who gain a false opinion of that person it becomes wrong.To put it quite bluntly it is a sin that hurts more than just myself.
When I let those words slip from my tongue I am cursing a person who was made in the image of God. I am not writing this to air out my dirty laundry on the internet. I am writing about it because I know for a fact that I am not the only woman struggling with this sin that is a little too easy to commit.
As James 3:6 put’s it my tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness corrupting my entire body. It can set my whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
The thing is, I don’t want my tongue to control me anymore. I know that I may not be able to let out the fire in me but I know for a fact God can. I want my words to build people up not tear them down and this summer God has not only convicted me but he has helped me. You see, the irony is, I got upset because people were hurting me but I turned around and did the exact same thing.
As I look back at my actions I am ashamed but I don’t dwell on it. I use my mistakes to drive me to change because that is how I am refined.
Through my mistakes God has taught me four biblical steps that will help him take control of my tongue.
1. Go to the person WITH KINDNESS and talk to them about how they hurt you. This means going in with the mind set that it was unintentional. When we go into a situation with the mindset of blaming someone they are only going to go into defense mode.
If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.
2. Think of them as Christ does. We all make mistakes but God loves us anyways.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
3. As Elsa from Frozen would say, LET IT GO! This is way easier said than done but it’s the only way your going to tame your tongue. The longer you sit and harbor those negative thoughts, the longer the devil is going to have control of your mood and most likely your tongue.
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
4. Be in constant prayer and rebuke all negative thoughts. The more we include God the more he can be in control.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
This summer has been one of enormous growth for me and out of all the lessons I have learned, this one is probably the biggest. As you walk through this day and through the rest of your life, my challange for you is to let the words of your mouth and the meditation of your heart be pleasing to the Lord your creator (Psalm 19:14). In a cold world we have the ability to be a light that brings happiness. The first step in doing that is to let the Lord put out the fire in your tongue. Together we can make a difference.