Yesterday was discernment. Today is discretion. “Think about what you’re going to say, and then don’t say it.”
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
One of my biggest challenges is keeping my mouth under control. It’s like it has its own little motor that turns on and runs all by itself! Of course, what I’m facing here is habit. I’ve done it so long that it feels unnatural to try to control it. What do I do?
First of all, I must confess that I have a problem. I tell the Lord about it–I’m not fooling anyone. He is the one who prompted me to face my habit! But, confession is good for the soul. It gets it out there on the table.
The next thing is to acknowledge my desire to change. I may not know how, but having the desire is the foundation to change. I claim Psalm 37:4, “Commit your way to the Lord, delight in Him, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” My desire is to be discerning about what I say.
The third thing I do is identify what I talk about that I know is a problem: Speaking critically about people. Why is it a problem?
- The person to whom I am talking does not need the negativity. Also, he may not share my opinion.
- Professing negative things about others colors my opinion of them. If I am to see them as brothers and sisters in Christ, I must talk about them as if Christ is standing right there with me. Oh, wait–He is!
- Some people don’t need ammunition for their own habit of being critical. Besides, they may talk about me the same way!
The best verse for me to combat this habit is Ephesians 4:29, which says, “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.”
Two things I draw from this verse is that I am to be about building others up and not tearing them down, and to be a benefit and not a hindrance to those who are listening to me. I must consider both the person about whom I am talking and also the person to whom I am talking.
Well, I’m not perfect, but I am working on it with the partnership of the Holy Spirit. I am sure glad that the Lord enjoys our fellowship regardless of how many times it will take for me to kick this habit. I know He’s rooting for me. I also know that I am “more than a conqueror through Him who loves me” (Romans 8:37).
Abba, we all have “kinks in our armor.” I am so glad that You have given us Your armor. May I take my old armor off and put on the new armor, the one that does not gratify the desires of the flesh (Romans 13:14). Keep working in me so that I may be pure and blameless on the Day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:10). I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17); help me live in that reality. Amen.
NOTE: Monday was the first day in 12+ years that I forgot to write a Proverbs post. Couldn’t let THAT happen!