Saturday, October 18, 2008

Kindness in Speech

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.
Proverbs 31:26

I have been dwelling on this verse for a few days now, mulling it over, thinking of its implications, and trying to apply it. I want to be a woman, a wife and mother, who is not only wise but also always speaks kindly. More often than I like to admit, I slip and in a moment of frustration (anger, if I call it the less-easy-to-justify name) say somethingthat I later regret, whether the words I say are mean or if they are seemingly innocent but said in a mean way. And it's always the hardest around the people I love most, who I spend the most time with: my husband and son. I desire to be like Christ. To always say what is appropriate and right. To always be ruled by the law of kindness.

I Corinthians 13:11 says, "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." This verse makes it clear that I can be the most eloquent person in the world, the beauty of whose speech is unsurpassed by either men or angels, but if that speech is not accompanied by love, it is as worthless and annoying as a repetitious noise (and we moms know about those...) ; )

I love the book of James. When I study it, I feel like it is like cleaning away all my greasy, caked on heart-filth in the same way I clean my filthy oven with oven cleaner. James writes a lsignificant portion about the danger of our speech and the trouble out tongues get us into:

"Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison." (James 3: 1-8)

Wow, that's pretty scathing. The tongue is a small and very dangerous part of us, a fire, a world of iniquity, the defiler of our bodies, set on fire by hell, an untameable evil that it full of deadly poison. No wonder I have a hard time controlling what I say!

So what I can do to overcome my resident deadly evil? Pray, pray, pray. I find that prayer is always a good first course of action. When I find those ugly thoughts popping up in my head (yes, those thoughts that don't seem to affect anyone but me are the first steps to saying something mean), I find that turning to the Lord in prayer, asking Him to help me think right thoughts and say kind things often helps me get back on the right track. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of praying, but He is always willing to help. I also like to re-channel my thoughts to dwelling on what I'm thankful for rather than what I feel disgruntled about, and I often come back to the following verse (also from James); it is such a comfort:

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
James 1:5

1 comment:

Tammie said...

i'm so encouraged to see your sensitivity to the Lord's teaching. keep growing, dear girl.