September 30, 2010
"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people, who have been made in God's likeness." James 3:9 (NIV)
A few weeks ago two of my kids were having a growth opportunity. "Growth opportunity" is the new phrase us TerKeursts use for "fight." It's like when people say pink is the new black. Growth opportunity is the new fight.
Anyhow, back to the two kids who love each other but didn't like each other very much in the heat of the moment. I pulled out my proverbial soap box, got my hand positioned just right on my hip, and told these two young teens to look outside the window of our home. I told them that outside our home a world exists of people who may or may not be nice to us. There are no guarantees.
"But, inside this house," I continued as I turned them toward one another, "there are certain guarantees. Since the day I birthed you, I have preached one sermon about the words spoken in our home. It is a simple sermon. Before you part your lips to speak, you must ask yourself this question: Are my words kind, necessary, and true?"
"If the answer to all three parts of that question is yes…proceed ahead."
"If the answer to any part of that question is no…stop the words from coming out."
Does that mean there is no room to address hard issues with one another? No. But it will always be done with a spirit of kindness using only words that are necessary and true.
I then ushered these precious teens outside to a bench in my front yard and instructed them to figure out their issues between the two of them. But they were not going to bring words into our house unless they were kind, necessary, and true. Thank you very much. Have a nice time on this warm little bench on this warm little day.
Be sure when reading that last paragraph to do it with the mama attitude. I'll wait right here if you need to go back and re-read with attitude.
There are some verses in James I'm considering writing on the palm of my hand. Think of how handy it would be just to flash my palm up in the midst of my people's growth opportunities with this verse in bold ink: "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My people, this should not be" (James 3 9-10).
That same chapter of James goes on to read, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice" (verse 16).
Have mercy. I do not want disorder and every evil practice to be invited into my home. And if envy and selfish ambition (which are where ugly words come from) are the key that opens the door for all that evil mess, then I will do everything with the power of Jesus in me to tame tongues.
And all my Jesus girlfriends said, Amen!
Dear Lord, help me to know how to teach my children how to be more like You. Help me to model You in my actions, my reactions, and in every word I say. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Plus, leave your name on Lysa's blog post and you'll be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Lysa's latest book!
To read more about taming the tongue using "Kind, Necessary and True Words," get a copy of Lysa's latest book, Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue and accompanying Workbook
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Take a moment to think about the words spoken in your home. Are they laced with tones of harshness? Bitterness? Envy? What can you do today to begin to improve these words and tones?
Ask the Lord to help you shine a light on all of the words that are spoken within the walls of your home so you can recognize any flaws and begin to change them. Growth and a change of direction can only begin when we can see and admit there is an issue.
Philippians 2:5, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." (NIV)
Philippians 1:9-10, "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ." (NIV)
© 2010 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 30 September 2010.