Over the last several months, I have made it a priority to be intentional in what I say. Whether I’m talking to friends, posting updates on Facebook, or sharing photos on Instagram, I’m much slower to speak than I’ve ever been in the past. I’ve asked God to help me discipline myself in my finances and also in my words, which, I think, is a part of the sanctification He’s leading me through in every area of my life.
Words are powerful, and my brain comes up with them quickly. The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue, which means it’s important that we take time to think about the things we say before we say them.
I’ve experienced some anger and disappointment in people over the last few days, and my natural (sinful) instinct is to use cutting words to tear others down – especially when they’re wrong, but that’s not what God’s Word commands us to do. He commands us to love others – even those who hurt us.
Proverbs says a fool gives full vent to his anger, and I don’t want to be a fool. I don’t want to grieve the Holy Spirit. Instead, I want my words and actions to be life-giving, which means that I need to examine whether I want to prove that I’m right or be gracious.
Jesus knew that the people who needed him were sinful and imperfect, and he made it very clear that we need to forgive if we want to be forgiven. And I definitely want to be forgiven, which means that I can’t allow roots of bitterness to grow even when it would be easy to find others who would agree with me. That’s gossip, and for the record, God hates that. He prefers unity, and over the last several years, seeking unity and seeking to uplift others has brought peace and joy into my daily life.
I’m at a point in my life in which I know that my help comes from the Lord. I also know that the only validation I need is from him and that he is sovereign, merciful, and slow to anger. His kindness leads us to repentance, and if I want to please him, I need to be careful with my words. I also need to think about things that are pure, holy, just, honest, and virtuous. Are we seeing a theme in scripture here?
Instead of focusing on the faults in people who disappoint me, I choose to look for the good in others. When I like something about someone – their outfit, their attitude, their nail polish choice, etc., I say it. I’m what some might call an aggressive encourager, and I’m sincere. It helps me to focus on the good in everyone and makes me less likely to focus on the disappointment I feel from time to time.
I have a long way to go to reach perfection, but God has definitely reshaped my heart, mind, and attitude in ways that I never knew were possible. I choose my words more carefully than I ever have, and even though I still fall short from time to time, I see the difference that it makes when I live in consistent fellowship with the Lord.
How has the Lord changed your heart and reshaped your thoughts?