Friday, August 29, 2008

#5 Open Mouth, Insert Foot

"But no one can tame the tongue: it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison." James 3:8

Just the other day I was visiting with some friends while I was at Southern Adventist University (SAU) finishing up General Psychology. While we were visiting we began to talk about things that we had said that we wish we hadn't said. We all shared stories of how our mouths had gotten us into trouble at some time or another. I remember one story that was actually sort of cute. My best friend's wife was talking about how her father-in-law and she were discussing the possibility of him trading his vehicle. He currently owns a silver Scion XB-the little cars that look like a toaster on wheels-and was thinking of trading it in for the newest body style that Scion has produced for that line. She told how her father-in-law kept going on and on about how great the new body style looked and how he would love to have it, and then before she knew what had happened she told him, "You should go trade up with them, anything would be better than what you have." The words fell out of her mouth before she even realized she said them. Of course her father-in-law stopped talking and just stared at her. He was blown away that she had voiced what had obviously been on her mind for some time. Thankfully for her she has a great father-n-law and he did not get too offended over the situation. He actually saw how embarrassed she was and he tried to make her feel better. He wrote it off to hormone imbalance during pregnancy and now they laugh about the moment. Needless to say, my friend's wife was terribly embarrassed and wanted to crawl under the seat and never come out.

I realize that this is a rather trivial story about not having our tongues tamed, but how many of us can relate to a story similar to this where we wish we had not opened our mouths? Far too many I am sure. There are times that I have said something to someone and really wished that I could take it back. I had a really bad habit of this when Ginger and I first got married. I loved to pick around, but I did not realize that my words of jest were actually daggers to the heart of my beloved. It took me several years to realize that I was continually bruising the heart of my dear wife. I did not try to hurt her, but my endless joking and picking around was almost more than she wanted to bear. I praise the Lord that she was able to voice her concern to me and that I had enough sense to listen to her cries for help.

So how about you? Do you say things to people that bruise their spirits? Do you use harsh words when you address your children or your spouse? Do you always look for the negative in every situation? Do you have to always be right no matter what? Do you try to tear others down so that you can build yourself up? Obviously I do not know how many if any of these questions apply to you guys. But I am certain that we could all think back to some situation where we should have said something in a different way or maybe we should not have said anything at all. It is impossible to control our tongues apart from the Lord. James reminds us that the tongue is a "restless evil and full of deadly poison." If that is the case then is foolish to think that we will be able to control the rudder of our body. I suggest to you all this evening that we need a higher power than that which is inherent in each of us. We need the power of the living God at work in our lives so that He can grant us the power to control our tongues and the other members of our body. Is only when Jesus comes in and becomes both Lord and Savior that we can have victory over an evil, poisonous tongue. How much sweeter would life be if we only spoke kind words to the world around us, if we looked for opportunities to encourage instead of ridicule, and if we sought chances to edify instead of tear down? It is my prayer that each of us would yield total control of our tongues and bodies to the Lord.

Dear Father in heaven,
We come to You this evening and give You praise for the many blessings in our lives. We also want to say thank You for the trials that teach us to lean on You more fully. In the midst of our praise may You grant us forgiveness for the times that we have allowed the poison of our tongues to bruise the spirit of someone around us. We desire to yield control of this small member of the body to You completely. May You control each thought, word, and deed as we strive to live our lives for You. It is in the name of Jesus our Savior we pray, Amen!

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