Have you ever put your foot in your mouth?
I have. A lot. There was the time I asked the woman when she was due and she informed me she wasn’t pregnant. (A couple of people have done it to me, so I consider that a bit of turnabout’s fair play.) Let’s not forget the “We broke the bed” episode or the time I used an accurate yet explicit word in front of a pastor’s wife.
Good times, good times.
This morning I did a study on James 3, which focusses on controlling our tongue. I’m trying my best to take the concepts from an abstract to concrete place in my life.
The truth is, while I think it’s one of my best qualities I can speak with boldness, my words do get me in trouble from time to time when I move to slowly to install the filter between my brain and mouth.
This is especially evident when I get angry or frustrated. It reminds me of the story of the little boy who got furious with his parents, took his dad’s hammer and nails and nailed, “I Hate You!” into their backyard fence.
His parents were not happy with his budding craftsmanship or attitude and told him to take out all the nails, immediately. It took him a lot longer to get those nails out than it had taken him to hit them in!
After he had finished his task his dad took him out back to look at the fence. “You see, son, you worked hard to get these nails out. And you finished the job. But remember this: even though the nails you used to express yourself are long gone, the words will always remain.
“Guard your tongue. Words spoken in anger may never be outgrown.”
A friend of ours recently told us whenever he and his wife start getting heated with one another they simply stop the discussion for a minute and pray. They ask God to be present in their conflict, help them stay like-minded, and give them strength and control to fight fairly. He swears it has been an act that has made his marriage stronger and able to withstand conflict over the years.
There must be other, practical, examples of how to control your words! I’d love to hear them — what do you do to stay wise with your words?