“The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!…My friends, this can’t go on.” (James 3: 7-11 msg)
Ok, this is hard for me to admit, but there is a Monster inside me…it is my tongue or, more accurately, my vocal chords. I can go through the entire day, encouraging women to love themselves and their bodies as creations of God. I can speak truth to my husband and support his role as leader of our family, I can write devotions to inspire our church members. I can sit with crying friends and pray that God will heal them, comfort them, and fill them with peace.
But come 3:45 in the afternoon, the Monster is raring to go…and she runs wild…right over my children’s hearts. The other day I sat at the table as my kids played at the table. I was not present with what they were doing, instead I was checking my emails. And then it hit me…no, not the realization that I should perhaps be playing with my children, but a large splash of water, right in my face.
Was this the wake up call that jolted me into a realization NOT to waste time checking emails when I could be playing with my kids? Oh, how I would LOVE to tell you YES!
But, the answer is NO…instead Monster Momma came out! With reckless abandon my tongue (and vocal chords) lashed out at my children, “What the HECK do you think you are doing!?!?!?!” For the next few minutes the monster ran wild, as I cleaned up the mess on the table, my face and my clothes I continued to lecture my children on the many things they do that don’t meet my standards: they should be more careful, clean up their messes, put up their clothes…
The same tongue that read them a Bible story in the morning, said words that bewildered, exasperated, and hurt my kids’ hearts. In the midst of my tirade I stopped, walked away, and begin to ask God for mercy…AND I started thanking Him that He does not respond to me with the same condemnation I so often do with my kids.
I mean, can you imagine if every time you make a careless mistake hearing a list of things that you have done that reinforce that feeling that you are not going to measure up? Yeesh! That list would be long, AND, it would include my wild tongue I am sure! Thankfully, my Heavenly Father doesn’t keep a list of all the ways that I have fallen short. Instead, He reminds me of His grace and takes ALL things, even my wild tongue and uses it for His purpose.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
How? Through my children, of course!
As I walked around the kitchen, mad at my kids, mad at myself for being mad at my kids, I feel God tugging at my heart…”Just ask for forgiveness…and it is yours.” And so I do.
I ask God to forgive my wild tongue, to hold it in check, and to guide my words. “Yes,” I say, “I know, Lord, it is not just you I must ask…Boys, come here a minute, we need to talk.”
My sweet children, hearing the repentance in my voice, came running, curled up next to me on the couch, and listened as I told them the truth. I am not perfect, I make mistakes, and I say things that I should not say. I reminded them that I love them, I don’t expect them to be perfect either, and that I was sorry for treating them like they were less that a blessing from God. I told them that I had asked God to forgive me and I hoped they would to.
“We love you, Mom.” they said as if I should already know that. You see, they already knew I am not perfect and they love me anyway. They don’t expect me to never make mistakes.
That’s a lot like Someone Else I know! God knows I am not perfect, that I will make mistakes…and he loves me anyway.
But He also loves me too much to let me stay that way.
Just like I want my kids to know the Bible and the Truth that it has for their lives, God wants me to know His Word in my heart and mind so that it will guide the words that come out of my mouth. I know this is something that I cannot do on my own, believe me, I have tried.
Maybe your issue is not your “wild tongue”, but is there another area in your life that you are trying to tame? to control? Whatever you are trying to “tame” about your life, know that God is waiting for you to come to Him, ask for forgiveness for trying to do it on your own, seek His will, and acknowledge HIS control over your life.
As long as I try to tame my wild tongue, I will fail. BUT, when I remember that it was God’s Word alone that turned Satan away from Jesus in the wilderness and it was God’s Word shut out the voice of the eating disorder that ruled my life… I know that God’s Word is what will tame my tongue and will remind me of the blessings I have through my children.
God’s Word ALONE will do this. In James I receive instruction about how to tame my Monster Momma, the wild tongue within:
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you,which can save you.”
But it is not enough for me to read this verse, or even memorize it and meditate on it. I must LIVE IT.
The very next verse in James tells us, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1: 19-22)
God’s Word is planted in us, but we must water it daily with the Living Water for it to grow deep into our hearts and then, “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
I know that it will take practice to water the Word planted in me, to do what it says. After all, I don’t know many of my friends and acquaintances that would say I am naturally inclined to be “slow to speak”!
But I am willing to give it a try. Yes, I want work to have my tongue be a fountain of wisdom for my children. Yes, my tongue is a fire, but instead of being like the man who cries out, “Have pity on me…dip the finger in water and cool my tongue, because I’m tormented in the flame!” (Luke 16), I pray that God will allow my tongue to be a fire for Him, that I would profess with my words…ALL MY WORDS…that He is Lord..of my life, and my lips!
How about you? What is an untamed aspect of your life? Where is the wild wanton killer of your Spirit? Maybe you are not like me, maybe your words do not harm you or those you love. But if there is any other area in your life where you say, ” I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15)…If so, I pray that you will look into Scripture and remember the promises He has for you…No condemnation, no record of wrongs, just HIS Words spoken for you.