Do I Need to Say This?

I’m sure I’m alone in this, but I struggle with what comes out of my mouth. Not that this is an excuse by any means, but, as an extroverted person, a “mouth filter” is hard-pressed to come by. One might call my condition “diarrhea of the mouth” (a crude, but apt term). Or, another description might be “diarrhea of the heart,” since the Bible says the heart and the words of our mouth are intricately linked. I’ve recently felt convicted about my speech again (since God has to remind me of this pretty often) while reading through the book of Proverbs.

One area I’ve recognized that my words aren’t lining up with what Proverbs describes as godly speech is in the way I talk to my husband. Ever notice how it’s so much easier to let loose of our tongues around those we love the most? What’s up with that?!? Often my words–ever since I was a little kid and would tell my younger siblings what to do–take a demanding tone, especially toward Nathan. Don’t get me wrong…he does NOT respond well to me when I speak that way. In fact, most of the time my bossyness has the opposite effect I desire. But, I somehow think over and over that talking to him in that way will help the situation, whether it’s driving, taking care of the kids, driving, our finances, home projects, driving, etc (did I mention driving?).

God has a high standard for our speech (i.e. honesty, kindness, calmness, gentleness, wise words, helpfulness, and much more), as you’ll quickly see while reading Proverbs. I’m sure I violate all of His commands at some point or another, but in particular I struggle with two areas of godly speech that the Bible describes. Perhaps you can take some time to read Proverbs and consider what areas you need to work on, too. For me they are:

1) Fewness of words:

Proverbs 10:19, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

Proverbs 12:23, “A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.”

Some questions I need to ask myself in light of these verses are: Do I need to say this? Would it be wise to say this?”

2) Aptness or timing of my words:

Proverbs 10:32, “The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.”

Proverbs 15:23, “A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!”

Some questions I need to ask myself in light of these verses are: Is what I’m saying suitable or pertinent to the situation? Am I speaking this at the right time?

Jesus says in Matthew 12:24, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Again, for those few people out there who struggle with words like I do, it’s important for us to ask ourselves what is going on in our hearts when we speak sinfully. What lies in my heart behind my demanding words is some pretty ugly stuff—namely pride and selfishness. Pride comes in when I start telling my husband how to do things because I think that I am better than him at whatever it is he’s doing. Quite honestly and ashamedly that thought creeps in more than I care to admit! Secondly, selfishness comes into play when I’m being bossy because I want what I want when I want it. I’m certainly not thinking about what is best for him at the time.

Now, we all fall short of God’s standard of excellent speech. Try as we might on our own, we can’t change our words or what is going on in our hearts for the long haul. So what do we do? As with all our sin, we have to repent and pray for forgiveness (which God graciously grants us because of what Christ has done for us on the cross). We need to keep God’s promises and His truth about our speech in our minds and hearts. And, we must work at acting on those truths. Perhaps most of all, though, we must ask and trust God to change us from within. Thankfully, He is the One who helps us battle our sin and makes us more and more Christ-like. Whew, because otherwise I’d be doomed.

Now, go work on your speech! Oh man, there I go again bossing others around. Pray for me!

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