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On The Tip of My Tongue

Yesterday while doing some cleaning with a few kids at the youth center where I work, one in particular kept stopping work (my pet peeve) to ask questions totally unrelated to the work we were doing. Then, to top it off,  two of his cousins came in needing change. These boys know they are not supposed to be in the building unless they are working when it is not open. Irritated at being interrupted once again, I spoke the first words that came to mind. I told the boys (without asking what they wanted) they could not be in there, we were not open, and we need to finish our work. Period. Now, I did not yell, but my tone was not kind and I should have stopped to ask what the situation was. (His grandma wanted to give him some money for food and games for the rest of the evening.) And I could have communicated the same thing in a kinder way than speaking through my irritation. 

Funny thing is, when someone else communicates in that way, I immediately notice. And I think to myself “I wonder if they know what they sound like…. They should say that in a kinder way… with more grace…” and then I go on about my life assuming that I don’t sound like that. But I do sound like that. At least at times I do. Probably more that I want to admit. I just don’t listen to myself; I’m too busy listening to my rationalizations on why it’s acceptable for me to speak that way to one of God’s creations. Not nearly enough thought goes into what I say and how I say it.

A sizeable amount of thought, however, does go into what I wear everyday.  Comfort, weather, the day’s activities ahead, my mood, whether it’s a “fat” day or not (you know what I mean, girls!)…all these things play into what I choose to put on each morning. It’s something I go through daily. And sometimes I get all ready for the day and I’m just not feeling the red striped top I chose so it begins all over again. As if the success of my day depends on my clothing jiving with my mood. (Well, ok, it does make a difference just like my coffee mug coordinating with my look for the day (I’ll have to fill you in on that oddity about myself later, but not one of big importance.)

So, as I was going through my morning routine of thinking through the more important points of what to wear today, it dawned on me, what if I put this much effort and thought into what I speak each day? What if I thought through the day’s activities ahead, the people I would encounter, my mood (which can easily throw me off), the “weather” with those around me and planned to put on a heart attitude that would help me to beautifully speak into each situation and life as would please God? What if? Then I would be a perfectly coordinated woman. Coordinated with Proverbs.

What I wear really has no effect on those around me, but what I say, how I communicate can make or break their day. It can affect their heart in strong ways. What I say has the power of life and death. It’s that serious. If I wear an outfit that just doesn’t “feel” right that day, there is no lasting affect. It doesn’t matter. On an eternal scale, it doesn’t even show up. But what I wear on my tongue, what comes out of my mouth, has affects I may not even realize this side of Heaven. On an eternal scale the weight is huge. Mega. Colossal. 

Proverbs 12:18
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 18:21
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 16:21
The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.

Proverbs 16:24
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Proverbs 10:20
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.

Proverbs 15:4
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 31:26
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Lord, may my words be gracious and faithful, may they bring healing and promote instruction. May my speech be a soothing tree of life to those around me, soothing their souls and healing their hearts. Bring to my mind each day the power I have right on the tip of my tongue and guide me to be pleasing to you in how I use it to minister to those you place in my midst.



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