A friend and I were talking the other night. She had just finished a Bible study with a group of middle school girls. You remember middle school don’t you? To this day, I still refer to seventh grade as the worst year of my life. Why? Girls=drama. Her study was fittingly on gossip. This made me think about something that had already been on my heart. Words. Our words matter. This seems to be particularly poignant in regards to women. I know I do not have to convince you. You have worked with women, you know your family, and/or you are currently rearing (or have reared) girls. Enough said. I then began to think about my own words. Especially in relation to my family. I seem to be a critical person. At least, in regards to my husband’s definition of clean and, at times, his parenting style. I say this regretably. My type A personality can lead me down a dangerous road. Church life can also pose an issue for us ladies at times. Have you ever volunteered to be on a committee filled with women? Christ, as always, gives us the solution to a deeply internal issue.
The problem: Our mouths play a big part in leading us into sin. Scripture says the mouth guides the rest of our body and is evil. “Now when we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide the whole animal. And consider ships; though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our bodies; it pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell.” (James 3:3-6) James is not sugar coating anything. The bottom line is that our mouths get us into a world of trouble and leads the rest of our bodies into sin. It is ignited by Satan and full of filth, malice, slander, gossip, and corruption. Our natural tendency is to tear down one another. This, however, is only the surface issue. What lies beneath is even more troubling. Luke 6:45 says, “A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” This Scripture makes my heart ache. In light of it, my halfhearted apologies for the things I say seem so callus and inadequate. You see, it is not just that our tongues are evil, but that our hearts, we ourselves, are evil. We can not expect to tame this beast on our own because we can not cleanse our hearts ourselves. We need an intervention.
The solution: In steps Christ. Hallelujah! He cleanses us from all unrighteousness. He purifies us. He becomes our righteousness. Through salvation, yes, but also when we confess our sins and repent. I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to clense us from all unrighteousness.” There must be a change in us. We must choose to build one another up instead of tear one another down. Ephesians 4:29 tells us, “No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the buidling up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear.” We are to encourage and build one another up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Romans 14:19: “So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.” We are to edify each other. To be a benefit to those around us. We are to “encourage each other daily” (Hebrews 3:13). It is not about us; our wants, opinions, or preferences. We are seeking the good of others above ourselves. We are exemplifying Christ. What better way do we have to show the world that we are believers than to live by a standard of love. John 13:35 says, “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” We are to “be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24) in those around us. Oh, the power of our words. They are death, or they are life.
If others used your mouth, your words, as a scale to judge whether you were a follower of Christ, what would they determine? The bottom line is this, “Finally brothers [sisters], whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise–dwell on these things.” (Philipians 4:8) Put away that critical spirit, release the grudge you have been holding on to, and let go of the sin that so easily besets you (Hebrews 12:1). Be a woman of God who pleases Him with her mouth and her heart. Be a source of encouragement. Be a builder. Afterall, God has given us one another to bear the burdern of this life together. We are stronger together. “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up… A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 and 12b) We are able to endure when we are bound up together with the Lord through our friendships. May He use our mouths to spread the Gospel and to lift up the women in our lives. May we speak truth into the dark places. God bless you as you seek to serve Him!