The other day a friend said, "I don't know why, but I rag on my poor husband all the time--about nothing.
Maybe you catch yourself falling into that trap once in awhile.
Especially with my own sweet husband, who unfortunately happens to be an imperfect human being.
(Like his wife.)
Home, the 24/7 proving ground
It's at home that we slip up most often, isn't it? Because our loved ones love us we feel free enough to blurt out whatever comes to mind.
Yet if you're like me, your mom told you, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything."
We tell our kids, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Sometimes we're not so good at living out those truths in our day-to-day conversations with the person(s) we say we love the most.
Here's the hard truth I didn't want to look at
Our thoughtless words at home speak louder than our words at church.
They reveal what's inside us.
Every time we open our mouths we bring chaos or comfort. As the writer of Proverbs 12:18 (NIV) put it:
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Over the years I've grown somewhat wiser and more aware of myself. I've also learned to say from the heart, "I'm sorry. Please forgive me."
My husband always does, but we both know no apology blots out the memory of hurtful words.
Now, about those loose lips . . .
Some of us, um, forget when we're supposed to keep a secret. Or we carelessly share way more information than outsiders have a right to know.
Even without evil intent, we can do harm.
There's a remedy available, but not at the drugstore. I discovered it at a time when it was essential for me to, shall we say, keep my mouth shut about confidences that had been shared. I found this wonderful verse from Psalms and it became my frequent prayer.
Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. --Psalm 141:3 NIV
I've found that verse "hits me and fits me." It reminds me to think before I speak. It helps me control my wayward tongue.
Did somebody mention gossip?
I'm not a gossip. You're not a gossip.
We do talk about others, however, often in loving concern. To us, that doesn't feel like gossip.
To the subject(s) of our conversation, however, it probably does--unless we have their permission to share their stories.
Here's the problem: As soon as we tell another person we lose control of what happens next.
We can never predict the ripple effect of our words once they leave our mouths.
Gossip is not a new phenomenon. Solomon, the writer of most of Proverbs, knew that once we share a juicy bit of information, it can't be unsaid.
The words of a gossip are swallowed greedily, and they go down into a person's innermost being. Prov. 26:22 GW.
Nothing about human nature has changed since the time of Solomon.
Recalculating our aim
That's a word the recorded voice on our GPS often uses when we fail to follow the directions given. Then we may hear, "recalculating."
That's what the Psalm 141 verse noted above does for me. It helps me recalculate the direction I'm taking and sets me back on the right road. I've found that repeating Bible verses like this reminds me who I am and how I want to be.
I can't do it on my own. Thanks be, I don't have to.
Neither do you.
All we need to do is ask.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. --Hebrews 4:16 NIV
Peace and joy,