It’s possible you can relate to my struggle…
When someone says something that irritates or upsets me, I can quickly think of a response that is less than kind and compassionate. It’s easy to want to reply with something that “puts them back on their heels.”
But the truth is that in those moments, we need God’s help to control what we say!
Solomon had a lot to say about it:
The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishnessProverbs 15:2
The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.Proverbs 15:28
Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.Proverbs 17:28
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.Proverbs 18:21
Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.Proverbs 21:23
There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.Proverbs 29:20
And James added this:
If we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.James 3:2, 5–6a, 7–10
The tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire.
People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.
This is not right!
Okay, so I’m squirming. You too?
And the LAB notes make me squirm a little more:
Examples of an untamed tongue include gossiping, putting others down, bragging, manipulating, false teaching exaggerating, complaining, flattering, and lying. A few words spoken in anger can destroy a relationship that took years to build.
Maybe more than any other part of the body, our tongues remind us that we are sinners in need of forgiveness.
A Prayer to Help You Control What You Say
Father, I’m so sorry. I want to faithfully honor You with the words I speak but sometimes my frustrations and unkind thoughts come out of my mouth. Too often sinful thoughts turn into sinful words. Please forgive me. I’m sorry that I have hurt others. I realize I’ve hurt my relationships and because of that, I’ve hurt myself and others. Please help me.
Fill my heart with Your Spirit. Fill me with Your love. Help me control my thoughts and my words. Help me speak the truth with gentleness and respect. Help me know that I can set safe boundaries in my life with carefully chosen kind words. You ask me to live with wisdom. I don’t believe You want me to agree with everyone but You do want me to shine the light of Your love and speak the truth in ways that honor and glorify You.
I know I can’t do this on my own. I have failed so often. I need You. I need Jesus. I need to fill my heart and mind with the truths of Your Word so that I am equipped to stand strong when the enemy uses others to tempt me. I love You, Lord. Please help me love Your people the way You want me to. Give me everything I need to control what I say. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
I’m quite sure I won’t control what I say perfectly on this side of heaven. But I’m also sure that with God’s help I can do better. And that’s my goal.
I want to—”Fix [my] 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.” (Philippians 4:8)
When you and I are focused on the One who fills our thoughts with all things good we are less likely to be rattled by the things that aren’t.
On today’s note write:
With God’s help, I will control my thoughts to control what I say.
May God bless you today and fill you with all that gives you joy and blesses your thoughts.
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