Brothers | Out of Control | Mindful Mouths
We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect… (James 3:2)
“Me and my big fat mouth.” You did it again. You blabbed a secret, bragged too much, or stuck your foot it in. You’d give anything to take it back, but it’s too late. Our mouths may be physically small, but like bullets when fired, they can do a lot of damage. Think about all the ways our words get us into trouble: complaining, lying, criticizing, rudeness, tactlessness, arguing, gossiping… Like a newspaper, we shout the sensational headlines but bury the correction on the back page.
So how do we keep from stumbling in our words? The first step is to be mindful of them. Since words are free, we don’t think about the real cost. What if before speaking we asked: Is this the whole truth? Am I sharing someone else’s secrets? Is this beneficial to the hearers? The second step is to practice self-control. Colossians 4:6 says to “let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” A little salt is healthy for a diet. But dumping in the whole box of salt ruins a meal. When we think of our words like salt, we’re more likely to slow the stream between head and mouth. Self-control means we give the Holy Spirit the chance to say “NO!” before we blab. When we live with the knowledge that we will give an account for every word spoken (Matt. 12:36), we’re more likely to keep our mouths shut.
Final Thought: Practicing self-control in our words helps us develop self-control in our actions. Both are good.
Prayer: Father, teach me to be mindful of what I say so that my words are wise, true, and gracious. I don’t want to have to answer for my bad words. Help me practice self-control. Remind me that when I’m in doubt, stay quiet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.