"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness." James 3:9 (NIV)
One day, two of my kids were having a growth opportunity, which is our family's way of saying "fight."
These two kids love each other, but didn't like each other very much in the heat of the moment. I pulled out my proverbial soap box, got my hand positioned just right on my hip, and told these two young teens to look outside the window of our home. I told them that outside our home a world of people exist who may or may not be nice to us. There are no guarantees.
"But, inside this house," I continued as I turned them toward one another, "there are certain guarantees. Since the day I birthed you, I have preached one sermon about the words spoken in our home. It is a simple sermon. Before you part your lips to speak, you must ask yourself this question: Are my words kind, necessary, and true?"
"If the answer to all three parts of that question is yes . . . proceed ahead."
"If the answer to any part of that question is no . . . stop the words from coming out."
Does that mean there is no room to address hard issues with one another? No. But in our home, it will always be done with a spirit of kindness using only words that are necessary and true.
I then ushered these precious teens outside to a bench in the front yard and instructed them to figure out their issues. But they were not going to bring words into our house unless they were kind, necessary, and true. Thank you very much. Have a nice time on this warm little bench on this warm little day.
There are some verses in the book of James I'm considering writing on the palm of my hand. Think of how handy it would be just to flash my palm up in the midst of my people's growth opportunities with this verse in bold ink: "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be" (James 3 9-10 NIV).
That same chapter of James goes on to read, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice" (verse 16 NIV).
Have mercy. I do not want disorder and every evil practice to be invited into my home. And if envy and selfish ambition (which are where ugly words come from) are the key that opens the door for all that evil mess, then I will do everything with the power of Jesus in me to tame tongues.
And all my Jesus girlfriends said, Amen!
Dear Lord, help me to know how to teach my children how to be more like You. Help me to model You in my actions, my reactions, and in every word I say. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond: Take a moment to think about the words spoken in your home. Are they laced with tones of harshness? Bitterness? Envy? What can you do today to begin to improve these words and tones?
Power Verses: Philippians 2:5, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." (NIV 1984)
Philippians 1:9-10, "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ." (NIV)
© 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org