Of all the beings God created, mankind is the only one to use words and language to communicate with each other. There are so many languages and so many inflections, tones, and contexts, even moods that can impact how these words are received by others. Of late, it seems as though the only time I open my mouth is to change feet! I end up using inappropriate words, or biting/divisive words, and even worse, insensitive and thoughtless words to communicate my feelings, my opinion, and my beliefs/convictions. Proverbs 12:18 reads; “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.” We have the ability to shred someone with our words or encourage and heal them with our words. Oddly, the more familiar with are with others (mate, family, co-worker, etc), the looser our words become, and they can do SO much damage… without us really being aware.
Our devotional today is an admonition to reflect on our words and practice patience with our replies, retorts, and especially rebukes. As it states in Ephesians 4:29; “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Clearly, we are directed to be very careful with the words we use with others.
Take a half-a-breath and imagine you are about to speak directly to the Lord Jesus, Himself… then which words would you use? As a reference, James 1:19 reminds us; “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” You may also remember the infamous saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. This alone would keep me from opening my mouth to change feet, surely!
Also, in that half-breath, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your words. Proverbs 15:1 clarifies this when it states; “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” So, take some time to frame your answers, and with repetition that process will become second nature, which is to say that your sin-nature will be getting refined, cleansed, and made god-like.