Friday, September 28, 2007

Careless words

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Matthew 10, 11, 12

Matthew 12:35-37 (NIV)

35 [Jesus said,] The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that man will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

Psalm 34:1 (NIV)

1 I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.

Good morning!

Have you ever said something you instantly regretted? I’ve been known to drop a few careless words here and there. Sometimes they fall like bricks from my mouth, smashing into tiny little pieces all over the floor. I try to sweep them up, but somehow, a little shred embeds itself in my bare foot. When someone speaks a harsh word to you, it can cut like a knife. Hurtful words are difficult to forget and even harder to forgive. Do you often find yourself over-exposed by a careless, spoken word?

In 1964, our family sat around the black and white Motorola television set, laughing hysterically at the antics of Abner and Gladys Kravitz on the thirty-minute comedy sitcom, Bewitched. Played by actresses Alice Pearce and Sandra Gould, Gladys was a very nosy neighbor, constantly looking for something or someone to gossip about. She kept a pair of binoculars near her bedroom window, where she would spend hours watching people come and go. Abner Kravitz was a remarkable man. Played by actor George Tobias, Abner learned to remain silent through most of Gladys’ unending tirades. Gladys experienced sheer moments of exasperation by not being able to get a rise out of her saint-like spouse who remained engrossed in his morning paper. Abner learned to keep his head down and mouth shut. Oh, to have the self-control of Abner Kravitz! While I hate to admit it, I must confess that my husband Jeff is much better at keeping his mouth shut than I am. Don’t you wonder how the Lord will receive the person who has learned the fine art of keeping silent? This is one heavenly reward I know I will not qualify for; no, I’m not even close.

When we insert “foot into mouth” to maintain our silence, the heart speaks loud and clear. Our words may be the outward expression of some inward pain that has been eating us inside. God knows our hearts, and He hears us speak before we ever utter a single word. Will the thoughts and feelings you hold inside acquit or condemn you one day?

It is said that we are what we eat. The same is true of our thoughts. We are what we think. Jesus coached His disciples in matters of the heart. He encouraged them to focus not on the trivial but on what is truly important. Honoring the Lord who gives me life is the most important thing I will ever do. When I purposefully choose to honor God, my heart begins to soften, as the attitudes and harsh words I have carried around begin to fall away. Honoring the Lord begins and ends every day in prayer and praise. I praise the Lord every morning when I get up. I choose to set aside time to thank Him for His mercy and love in my life. During the course of the day, I focus my heart on His grace and peace. Thinking about the greatness of God keeps harsh words from spewing out of my mouth. It is easier to praise and pray, than to steam and stew over the actions of my neighbors. God cares about what I think. More than that, He cares about who I choose to think about. The words that fall from my lips reveal the person I am.

Today, I would challenge you to pay close attention to the words that you say. Where are they coming from? What prompts you to speak the words you utter? Maybe we need to redirect our thoughts toward the only One who can heal our scarred and heavy hearts. When we daily praise His holy name, seeking God’s face, the words that flow from our lips begin to change in the light of His everlasting love.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO

Pray for: God to fill your heart with adoration and praise! Change your focus and look away from the things that distress and disturb you. Think about the wonder and glory of God and give Him your praise! He can change the words of your mouth, and the condition of your heart, if you will let Him.


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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