Have you ever said something that you instantly regretted? Yeah, me too. How about those times when a thought crosses your mind, giving you plenty of time to resist the urge to share it, but you say what you want anyway? I’ve been there too. A lot. I think we have to remember the power of our words and that, for good or bad, they reflect our heart.
We have to be responsible with our words
I think about the effect my words have on others. Everyone has an inner voice that tells us who we are and what we are worth and those words that are shared with us by others are responsible for much of what that voice tells us. Our words carry with them a huge amount of power when they leave our mouths. Sometimes the responsibility of speech is overwhelming.
Our words are a direct reflection of our hearts. The Bible tells us in Luke 6:45 that “…the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Somehow I still am left shocked sometimes by my words: the ones I say out loud for others to hear as well as the ones I only mutter to myself.
If my words hold power, which they do, then I need to do everything I possibly can to make sure they are kind. I need to speak words that, when others hear them, are a blessing to them. After all, my words are a direct reflection of the condition of my heart, so if my heart isn’t in the shape it needs to be, then my words never will be either.
Controlling my tongue through my heart
How do I do this? How do I fix my heart? How do I control my tongue so that the words it forms are the kind that build others up instead of tearing them down?
The truth is I don’t. There is simply no way for me to control my own tongue. I’ve proven this to be true too many times to count. The Bible explains the reason for this when I’m told in James 3:5 that “…the tongue is a little member and boasts great things…” My tongue may be small, but it can be used to share words that can do a lot.
So is there no hope? Am I doomed forever, caught in an endless cycle of a bad thought leading to an unkind word with the end result including guilt, shame, and promises of doing better on my own, knowing all too well that I’ll never quite be able to figure out how to make that happen?
Again, it cycles back to my heart. If my heart is in good shape, those bad thoughts about others will be less likely to come my way because I’m seeing people through a different lens. I’m seeing them through the lens of love, true love that’s only fully available through Jesus. And, if those thoughts aren’t there, then the words won’t be there either.
Mending the heart
The only way to get my heart in the shape it needs to be in is to spend time with Jesus, allowing His love for humanity to be reflected through me, through my words that will spill out of my heart and onto others.
I know I will slip. I know there will be times when my thoughts don’t reflect what I’m carrying around in my heart. I know there will always be a fight waging war inside of me, one I will lose time and time again. I also know I have a weapon available to me.
Every time I soak in the compassionate love of my Savior through reading His word, communing with Him in prayer, and worshipping Him through praise, I can’t help but let a little more of His character replace my own.
I want my words to be kind, but I also want that kindness to be genuine and complete. This is only possible if it’s an honest reflection of Jesus and the change He has made in my life.