Ever feel like you “put your foot in your mouth”? Meaning, you hear your self talking and can’t believe what you’re saying or why?
Or you say something and discover the impact and response to your words are like nothing you expected, or intended, and the context was taken all wrong.
I’m reminded to the wisdom that teaches, “Words can bring death or life! Talk too much, and you will eat everything you say” (Proverbs 18:21).
We’re also reminded in the Bible to the wisdom of talking less and listening more. That’s easier for some than others. Perhaps that’s why I appreciate writing – at least it gives you time to think about your words, edit, and structure them so that they may be edifying rather than detrimental.
Yet, there are times, and will continue to be times, we respond and say things we wish we hadn’t.
To help prevent this from occurring, understanding what triggered our response in the first place is helpful.
For example, I recall overreacting to something and later realizing it was due to my workload at the time. I was feeling overwhelmed with my various commitments and a suggestion was made that would potentially add to my to do list. As a result, my reaction was automatically defensive and far too many words cascaded from my mouth in an effort to justify my cause. The situation was quite awkward, and I was embarrassed and ashamed of the way I reacted.
Unfortunately, we can’t take what we say back, but we can learn from the situations so that we don’t repeat them. Oswald Chambers once said, the great weakness of mankind is always feeling the need to vindicate ourselves.
How true. We love to be right and justify ourselves when wronged. It’s natural I guess, but as Christians, we are called to live not as natural beings, but as salt and light in a fallen world.
So, how embarrassing when we fail in this mission – yet, God’s grace does not shame us, but convicts us so that we may grow in our maturity, ministry, and learn from our mistakes.
I regret every time I allow my big mouth to tarnish some aspect of my testimony, and I am disappointed that it can still occur at the most inopportune times.
Yet, through Christ, I know and rejoice in the hope that we can all reach levels of maturity that empowers us to set aside pride and keep quiet. We can begin thinking less about ourselves, listening more, caring more, and desiring less self justification and vindication.
Thus, I’m thankful for the reminder to the power of the tongue. May it always be used to encourage, and elevate others in love. It’s said George Washington once bit his tongue until it bled in an effort to remain quiet when he once wanted to speak.
Perhaps there’s some wisdom there too in that showing restraint is often times the best thing we can do with our words.