I come from a long line of complainers on one side of the family and a long line of critical hot-heads on the other. I’m not worried about any family reading this because they will either know I am right or complain and criticize no matter how gently I put it. Left to my own devices, my mouth is a going concern. I am a complainer and have been critical of others. I have let expletives escape and I, man, can I gossip.
My mouth has been getting on my nerves. That realization occurs whenever I notice that other people’s mouths are getting on my nerves. I hear their tone or talking smack of others and ask myself, “Self, is that what you’ve been doing? Do you speak in that tone to YOUR kids?” When the answer is yes, I sometimes reel it in or I criticize and complain about the people who aren’t controlling their mouths. You all do it, too, you know it.
God gave us mouths for his purposes and to eat pizza and chocolate. Our mouths should be used to encourage others, share what God has done in our lives, teach, pray and sing. However, God did not make us robots and will not control our mouths for us. A lot of people blame God for all the evil in the world. Do you know how we know? Because they used their mouths to tell us so. If God put a muzzle on every critical complainer, folks wouldn’t have the freedom to be atheists or mean, verbally-abusive husbands or foul-mouthed gang members making a drug deal in a back alley or the church leader persuading his followers to believe a falsehood as gospel. Blame God all you want, it’s our choice to control what comes out of our cakeholes and it ain’t easy.
James 3:3-5 says, “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”
When I think about how this comparatively small muscle covered in taste buds and used to make goofy faces and lick ice cream can steer what direction the rest of me turns toward, it makes me a little nervous. A lot nervous. This thing we use to sing lullabies to our baby we also use to lie, cuss, and manipulate. I came across a pile of MEMLOCK cards this morning. Memlock is a Bible verse memory system we use with our kids. It uses cards with “trigger pictures” on them to help you remember the verse. Anyhoo, the card on top read as follows, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
Here’s the trigger picture:
SO, when I hear my kids’ mouths doing their thang, I tell them to eat a “Let Donut.” Finding these cards on the tongue was a smack upside the head. I’ve been letting my mouth do the thinking for me much of the time. There are several other verses in this pack of cards categorized as “TONGUE.”
Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.
Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
You don’t have to be a believer for these verses to make sense! There are so many more but suffice it to say that the very BEST way to get control of our mouths is to use it to pray for our mouths. For me, I want what comes out of my mouth to steer me in a direction that blesses others, helps the hurting, encourages, empowers and, to me, most importantly, leads my children closer to Christ each day. I want to be an example worth following and I’m not sure I’ve been that.
How could a Third Day song NOT come to mind? Nothing At All was the first song my husband heard from this awesomesauce band and drew him in. The pictures used in this video certainly depict what I’ve been talking about (click HERE for lyrics):
Then, of course, we can’t forget Thumper:
My admonishment for the week – “What did your FATHER tell you? Eat a LET DONUT!”
What’s not shared is lost,