Being the son of strict religious parents wasn’t easy.The restrictions my parents hung on me seemed unbearable, and I couldn’t wait to liberate myself from their control. In the meantime, I plotted to make their life miserable and did. But the memory of the things I did doubtlessly left their minds long before the things I said. Among the most harmful is the typical teenage phrase used when parents are making life intolerable: “I hate you.” The words penetrate a parent’s heart like a cold steel blade. Once I said those frightful words, I could apologize, but I could never return them to where they originated.
James says an unbridled tongue makes religion worthless. If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. (James 1:26 NLT)
Thinking before speaking is one of the most important but difficult lessons I’ve learned. Practicing it entails keeping several things in mind. Is what I’m about to relate necessary, true, kind, and helpful.
Not everything that could be said should be said. The information may be true, but not all truth must or even should be shared.
I ought also to consider the reliability of what I share. Gossip destroys on many levels, and while some gossip may contain an element of truth, it falls more under the category of untruth and unnecessary.
Furthermore, I should determine if what I share is kind and helpful. Kindness is a fruit of God’s Spirit and is always helpful to others. I can destroy relationships and friendships and damage other’s emotions with unnecessary and untrue statements, but I can build them up and foster unity with kind and thoughtful words and actions. The choice is mine.
Ask God to help you guide your tongue to build up rather than tear down.
Prayer: Eternal Lord, guide the words of our mouth to praise You and raise others up.
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