the power of the tongue…
I was trying to steer my overflowing cart through the crowded dairy aisle at Target, frantically checking my list to make sure I had grabbed everything. My little guys were hitting each other and screaming for treats, which made it difficult to focus. I could sense that we were fast approaching a meltdown, so I was attempting to reach the checkout before it got ugly.
“I think I have it all,” I murmured under my breath and started to turn my cart around.
And that’s when my two-year-old turned to the gentleman shopping closest to us and FOR NO APPARENT REASON yelled at him, “We don’t like you, stupid guy!”
I died a little inside.
My face turned red and I began to apologize profusely.
The poor victim walked away in disgust and didn’t respond.
I died a little more.
I bent down and gave my naughty toddler a stern little lecture about using only kind and nice words. He, in return, asked me for some m & m’s.
I died still more.
Ever since that day, I have had a legitimate phobia of taking my little monster shopping. I now suffer from what is know as F.O.B.E.T. or Fear Of Being Embarrassed at Target.
Don’t laugh. It’s a real thing.
And it’s borderline tragic because Target used to be my happy place.
Isn’t it crazy how a few small words can have such a big impact?
The tongue is a powerful weapon. I’ve spent the last several weeks studying the book of James, and he has so much to say about the the tongue:
- 1:26 “If you claim to be religious, but can’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself and your religion is useless.”
- 3:2 “For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could control ourselves in every other way.”
- 3:6 “But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.”
- 3:8 “No one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.”
The tongue is tiny but has giant impact…as evidenced by my two-year-old. And while we can all agree that it’s impossible to tame the tongue of a toddler, the reality is that our grown-up tongues are not so easily tamed either. There are far too many days when my tongue speaks words that I wish I could take back. On the other hand, there are also many days that my tongue speaks words that are full of love and hope.
From my tongue can flow both good and bad, with consequences to match.
Jesus explained why it matters what rolls off the tongue in Matthew 12:34: “For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good fruit from treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from a treasury of an evil heart.”
The words on my tongue illuminate what’s really in my heart and reveal whether I have:
A wise heart or a foolish heart.
A humble heart or a prideful heart.
A heart that seeks to please God or a heart that seeks to please man.
The simple truth is that I want to have a heart that is pleasing to God, so I took some time to examine what I have been saying. I realized that I want to be more intentional about my tongue…especially with my children (Dear Jesus, give me grace!).
You better believe that I spent extra time this week in the Word and on my knees, asking God to help purify my heart and to fill it with his love, grace, mercy and joy. I’m hoping a renewed heart will lead to a renewal of my tongue.
Good thing I had all that extra time to work on my heart because I am avoiding Target.
Kidding not kidding.
Friends, can I encourage you to look back at your week and see what your tongue had to say about your heart? Join me in the pursuit of being a fresh spring of water and not a salty sea (James 3:12). As always, I love hearing from you. Email me or comment on the blog and I will get on my knees for you. Let’s do this faith journey together!
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