Monday, November 24, 2008

A Princess Warrior's Words

Don't let Satan hijack your words (tongue)!

I know. The picture is REALLY unsettling. But I feel like God is REALLY trying to get my attention and maybe yours, too. I suspect this disgusting picture did just that.

However, it makes a powerful statement, doesn't it? Sometimes, maybe more than we'd care to admit, what comes out of our mouths is just as disgusting. The book of James talks about that one little organ -- our tongue -- causing so many problems. What we say cannot be erased ... ever. Once said, always said. Certainly, we can apologize for our misspoken words and confess, yet the consequences may remain far into the future as scars on another person's heart.

This time of year, for a number of reasons, people tend to get more stressed. Holidays can bring out the worst in some folks. Maybe, for whatever reason, it brings out some ickiness in you. For me, my finances are tighter than most years. I vacillate between trusting God as my Provider and attempting to figure money stuff out on my own. You can probably guess that on my own, I don't do so well. Stress can quickly escalate into words that seem to pop (or as in the above picture) slither out of our mouths. For what resides inside seems to spill into the world around us.

At church this past weekend, our pastor, Mr. Creative, himself, walked around the room with a big canvass bag. He asked us unsuspecting church goers to stick our hands in and see if we could figure out what lay inside. Well, being a daring Princess Warrior, I took the "feel" challenge. Ew-w-w-e! A nasty slimy blob resided in that bag. Please Note: He did provide a squirt of hand sanitizer following each person's turn.

Are you wondering what this was? I sure was. Our pastor used to be a youth pastor so he is very adept at using highly visual and impacting illustrations to make a point. Okay, okay ... it was a cow tongue. Seriously. Well-washed and cleaned up, but still a big, gross, ugly tongue. Can you guess what he was talking about? Uh huh ... the harm a tongue can cause. He waved that thing around and we all had a very powerful reminder of what a tongue can do. So powerful, I'm still sharing about it.

The lesson was good, though. We have got to stop wounding others with our words. Praise God if you don't have an issue with this. If that's the case, I challenge you to pray for those of us that do. Although, considering this was a topic God saw fit to include in the Bible, I suspect most of us struggle with it now and again.

So, what do we do?

Even though it sometimes feels like words just explode from our mouths without a sane thought on our part, there is always a preceding thought and time to make a choice. I know in the heat of the battle it can be difficult to push the PAUSE BUTTON. But that is exactly what we need to do.

My daughter came home this summer from church camp wearing a pin-on-button that said PAUSE. This button was to serve as a reminder for her to think before acting. Friends, we all need a pause button. If purchasing a button helps ... do it. After all, Jesus tells us to cut off our hand if it causes us to sin. Personally, I'd prefer wearing a button over loosing my tongue.

All humor aside. We've all been wounded by words and we've all injured others. Keeping our mouths clean is a must for every Princess Warrior for Christ.

Practical Tips:

1. Pray for God's supernatural help and strength to help you pause before speaking.

2. If you have to, cover your mouth with your hand and/or walk away rather than blurting out something unsavory.

3. Ask if what you plan to say would glorify God.

4. Make sure everything that comes out of your mouth is encouraging to others.

5. Ask if you'd say that if you were face to face with Jesus. (Ouch!)

6. Manage your stress ahead of time by spending time in prayer, worship, and talking with others about your problems. By alleviating stress you will be better equipped to converse calmly without anxiety and worry tainting your words.

7. When you mess up. (Not if, when) Admit your mistake, immediately. Ask God for forgiveness and repent. Turn again from your sin and move forward, making restitution for any harm caused.

I've fallen short a lot in this area, lately. My daughter is really good at pushing buttons other than the Pause Button, if you know what I mean. She is experienced at pushing my personal buttons. It's time for me to disengage those buttons and respond as Christ would, with love and truth, balanced and in harmony with each other.

We belong to a royal priesthood, a holy nation of God. Our words matter. We can use our mouths to bless or curse. Let's choose to bless. Amen?!

Happy early Thanksgiving.


Kimberly said...

Wow Carol. That was a very powerful visual reminder.

I've learned to stop and think before acting/saying. Because I used to be one of those reactionary people and curse instead of bless. However, that's reversed these days. I bless those around me as often as possible. Occasionally the enemy slips in and I have to fight it off.

Have a very blessed Thanksgiving week.

Tinika said...

I loved your post. Well said. I just wanted to think you for saying it. I really needed to hear that today. (As bad as i hurts to hear it) God's word really is like a sword!

Be blessed in Jesus name,