Monday, July 23, 2012

Are You Sure My Words Matter?

"The wise ones fashioned speech with their thought, sifting it as grain is sifted through a sieve. "
  - Buddha

I run off at the mouth.

If you know me in real life, you aren't surprised by this statement. I tend to say whatever comes to mind - sometimes for shock value but mostly because it's how I'm wired. It seems like the connection between my brain and my mouth has fewer obstructions than the average female.

Not my mouth -
mine is bigger :-)
As a result, I find myself regretting my words more frequently than I'd like. The temptation is to say "that's how God made me" and expect others to let me slide. I mean, if God made me like this, I can't be held responsible, right?

Today in church I heard that my words matter to God. What I say and how I say it matters. Can I tell you, I'm not very happy about this.

Apparently God wants me to think before I speak. God wants me to consider others' feelings when it comes to my words.

This is a very high bar!

Am I even capable of considering my words before they fly out of my mouth?

I think this task is especially difficult for women.

Women tend to speak more than men. We have a higher likelihood of saying things we shouldn't.

Women tend to be more passionate about topics. Passion tends to be a little less filtered than other things.

Women also tend to be nasty. Let's face it, the cattiest people we know, the ones who say the most hurtful words, are typically women.

Apparently, God doesn't like this. He wants our words to be pleasing to Him and kind to others.

I'm not really happy about hearing the sermon. It's a lot easier when my pastor preaches about things that aren't an issue for me - murder, stealing, etc . . .I'm less likely to commit those sins.
I know all too often I fail  to honor God with my words. Why is that? Why is it so easy for my words to be mean? Why is it easy for me to put others down? Why is it easy for me to criticize other people's outfits, their parenting, their hair style, whatever? Why is it so easy for me to judge and so hard for me to be kind?

I promise that I do not have the answers.

As you can see all I have are questions.

The big question right now is, if this is such a difficult task, why try?

I know there are those who don't. They assume that what happens in their brain should just fly right out of their mouths. They assume that since it happened in their head, they're justified in saying it out loud without any repercussions.

I couldn't disagree more. The words that come out of our mouths can hurt those around us. There is no justification for using my words to inflict pain on those around me - even if it's unintentional. Criticism (even when masked as helpfulness) can really wound.

If I heard my children speaking about their friends the way I have occasionally spoken about others behind their backs, I would be all over them! Notice the double standard? I just did. Ugh.

My goal for this week, is to guard my words - behind folks' backs, to their faces, and in general. I want to see just how much joy I can bring to God with my words. He has called me to the task, so I'm going to try.

I'm not clueless enough to think that I can do it alone. Only God's help will make this goal an option for me. I'm going to need a whole lot of His help this week.

I'll let you know how it goes.

What about you? Do you find it difficult to use kind words? Do you find yourself judging those around you? If those you speak about behind their backs could hear your words, how would they feel? This one gets me all the time.

Let me know what you think.


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