I went into the powder room and tried to shut the door behind me. It wouldn’t close. I pulled hard and then stopped, realizing that forcing it would probably break it. Instead I held onto it as tightly as possible to protect my privacy for a few moments. As I walked out, I looked around the door jam. This door had always worked properly. What was going on? I made a mental note to mention it to my husband and then forgot about it.
Several hours later, I revisited that room.The door still wouldn’t close. Thinking I should be able to figure this out, I studied the door. Suddenly, my eye landed on a small object at the base of the door. I reached down to pick up a tiny screw anchor the same color as the door. This tiny little object had kept a large door from closing properly.
It brought to mind the verses James wrote about the tongue. Remember them? The ones about the tongue being like the tiny rudder that turns the mighty ship? (James 3:1-11). This small part of our body can (and often does) affect people’s perception of our entire being. People judge us on our speech–and so they should. Bad or crude language, disrespect, unkind words about others are all indicative of a larger heart issue. The tiny tongue shows the truth of our hearts (Luke 6:45).
Proverbs is full of wisdom about speech. Here is just one example:
Listen, for I will speak of excellent things,
And from the opening of my lips will come right things;
For my mouth will speak truth;
Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are with righteousness;
Nothing crooked or perverse is in them. (Prov. 8:6-9)
Our speech should be filled with excellence, truth, and righteousness. We should not be known for our wicked, crooked, or perverse (meaning cantankerous or rebellious) speech.
As I examine my own life, I can see that my tongue oftentimes does not say very good things about who I am inside. This is one area it is easy to excuse ourselves, isn’t it? We are tired. We are hungry. We are “normal” and the other person isn’t (Still haven’t figured out why we think we have the right to determine what’s “normal”). One little lie won’t hurt. One dirty joke isn’t a big deal. I want to be popular. My kids drive me crazy. My husband/wife deserves it. I could go on and on here, but I think you get the idea.
I just saw a wonderful saying of facebook yesterday that is worth passing along: When we speak we should THINK: T – is it true? H – is it helpful? I – is it inspiring? N – is it necessary? K – is it kind? What a great test to apply to our speech.
But we can never forget that our speech indicates our heart’s condition. Even if we can train ourselves not to speak it – are we thinking it? As we grow and mature in Christ, even our thoughts should be more holy and pure. Of course, we will never obtain perfection here on earth, but we keep working at it, with the glorious hope of victory in Christ Jesus someday!
So perhaps it is worth some consideration to examine what our tongue is telling others about our hearts today? Is there a gap showing in our walk with the Lord because of the way we use that tiny instrument?