From the Abundance of the Heart, the Mouth Speaks…


If you your lips

Would keep from slips

Five things observe with care;

Of whom you speak, to whom you speak

And how and when and where.

 

The power of words.  It’s almost scary how powerful words can be.  A single word can either make someone’s day or break their heart.  Six words spoken to me in the heat of fear and anger almost destroyed me when I was a new mother.  Funny isn’t it.  Six little words almost erased a lifetime of love and affirmation.  Had I not been able to look past them after a time, and see the root of it, I might have become a very different person than I did.  I might have let them destroy me. 

 

Conversely, I remember almost every genuine compliment I ever received… and a few insincere ones as well.  Like the time a guy told me I had ‘the most beautiful green eyes’ he’d ever seen.  Sigh.  I wish it was true.  Just what every young girl wants to hear right?  Well, it would have been nice but the problem is, I don’t have green eyes.  Oh well.  I like to pretend he was color blind when I need the affirmation. 

 

Do my words convey that same affirmation that I long to receive?  Does my husband hear love and appreciation in my tone when I answer his questions or give him news?  Do my children hear how much I love them when I tell them something?  Do I speak too much?  Too little?  Adequately?  Appreciatively?

 

Do I exhibit, by my example, the way in which loving Christians speak of others?  Do I criticize or condemn others in how I speak of them?  Did my children learn to gossip from me, or someone else?  Have I taught my children the ‘value’ of venting rather than how to ‘cover a multitude of sins’ by keeping my mouth shut?  Do my children think that ‘speaking the truth in love’ means cutting someone to the bone with a smile and a promise to pray for them?

 

Conversely, do I sugar coat what should be spoken ‘straight’?  When someone is in sin, do I kiss them with my words and prove myself an enemy, or am I faithful to speak the truth without watering it down, even though it might mean a wound but in the process, proving myself a true friend? 

 

Emma, by Jane Austen, has a scene that is so beautifully shown in the Gwynneth Paltrow/Jeremy Northam version of the movie.  Emma has insulted an elderly woman by mocking her foolishness and publicly humiliating her.  The scene reads thus…

 

“This is not pleasant to you, Emma–and it is very far from pleasant to me; but I must, I will,–I will tell you truths while I can; satisfied with proving myself your friend by very faithful counsel, and trusting that you will some time or other do me greater justice than you can do now.”

Words.  I pray that I use them wisely.  Ugh.  If there is one phrase that I hear parents say over and over is… ‘use your words’.  I despise that phrase.  It drives me absolutely nuts.  I’ll rephrase.  Words… may I speak them with love, kindness, honesty, and care.

 

Hmmm that’s where I started isn’t it?

 

If you your lips

Would keep from slips

Five things observe with care;

Of whom you speak, to whom you speak

And how and when and where.

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