"When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise" Proverbs 10:19
I spend a lot of time, more than you'd probably expect, regretting things I've said past and present. I'm so much better with words on paper than I am in person. If you know me well, you've probably heard some of the more notorious incidents where I've said the wrong thing on accident or, even worse, with eyes wide open. The problem here is threefold:
1) I don't like awkward small talk or uncomfortable silences so I tend to scramble for something to say which sometimes results in further awkwardness.
2) I can be careless with my words or just way too honest and blunt. Sometimes I want to be witty or amusing. Other times I insist on voicing my opinion or having the last word. Whatever the reason - I'm often guilty of not adhering to that old adage "Think before you speak."
3) Sarcasm. With a capital "S." I have a terrible habit of using it.
The problem here is that my need to be heard can result in causing offense or hurt to others. Which is an awful feeling and so not worth whatever it is I just had to say at the time.
Proverbs 18:21 says, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
The tongue is a powerful weapon, often untamed. I find myself praying more and more that God would control my tongue to keep my from saying things I'll regret later. I want to be someone who builds people up instead of tearing them down. Who can make people laugh without doing it at the expense of others. I want to be a mother who speaks life and encouragement into the hearts of my children - not someone who shouts at them and is constantly scolding.
I want to stop complaining and start praising God. This is one of the most frustrating areas for me because I have gratitude to the core of my being for what God has done in my life and yet I still seem to find reason to complain or grumble or find fault with a situation. For instance, when people ask me how Tim's job is going I often start on a positive note but end with "but in the long run it won't provide enough for us." Agghhh! No! The Lord is good and faithful to provide and he has given us our "daily bread" for the day and that is enough for now. So I should still only ever have praise for him. And yet, as I said, I seem to have this penchant for not thinking before I speak.
Clearly I'm not the only God-fearer who struggled with taming their tongue - the Bible is full of passages in regards to this issue. This passage from James 3:3-18 is a perfect summary of my struggle:
Amen to that.
Here's to thinking before I speak.