The Hasty Tongue
“Observe the people who always talk before they think – even simpletons are better off than they are.” -Proverbs 29:20, The Message version
Have you ever offended anyone because you simply didn’t think before you spoke – have you ever made a commitment to God or to man without giving it much thought or consideration and later reneging it? Have you ever spoken what was on your mind or stated your opinion and turned away a friend?
Yeah, we all have. And most likely, we do it more often than we’d like to. When we’re hasty, when we do not think before speaking, it’s done too quickly to be thoughtful or wise. It sucks, and we end up feeling bad. But check out this verse: For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. (James 3:2, KJV) So, in other words, none of us [hopefully] claim to be perfect, so there is hope! We’re not expected to be perfect, but to daily be walking more closely in the image of Christ. While we’re still on this earth, we’ll never be perfect, but the longer we live as those in Christ the more we should appear more like Him. So, if you think that you’re near perfect, we’ll be talking on the Prideful Tongue later on. 😉
There are usually three different areas regarding hasty talk where we lack wisdom as humans, and those are offending in haste, responding in haste, and committing in haste. Because we can never be totally aware of all of the sensitivities of others, we must depend on the Holy Spirit to direct our speech in a way that does not tap into others’ pain, distress, or other negative experiences. I have seen people innocently offend others in an attempt to interject humor into a situation, and I have done this myself as well (a lot, actually). One way I think that will help us to deal with this is if we practice not being easily offended ourselves, and often give others the benefit of the doubt when they make a hasty remark we may otherwise find offensive. If we practice this attitude of heart, people will begin to notice and our reputation will become one as “easy-going”, or one that says that we can handle situations with joy, acknowledging that laughter is good, also giving us a reputation of showing others that we mean not to offend them as well if that should happen.
Responding and committing in haste, as Americans, are two of the biggest struggles I believe among trying to tame our tongues. Our lives are already very busy, yet we have good intentions in our heart. We want to help out others, therefore we commit without giving no real thought to if we’ll actually have time for it, or if we already have plans within that time slot. So that means that we’ll either end up feeling hurried, rushed, and find no joy in helping others out in what we committed to, we will have to cancel one of the plans we made and potentially disappoint someone (which I personally hate the thought of disappointing people, as well as being disappointed myself), or we will not end up getting our needed time with our families or with God, because we are always off doing something else when we should be relaxing and being rejuvenated by the presence of our family or our reading and prayer time with God.
Now, at the center of all of this, we need to remember what our purpose is here on earth. It’s not to help others out because it feels good for you, it’s not to get satisfaction out of something that you accomplished. Because, let’s remember, all of our resources and talents are from God, so we have to remember to give Him the glory. And when we take time out of our schedule to spend time with Him, we need to not only read and pray for an amount of time that makes us feel good, but we need to realize and do what makes God feel good – remember, we’re here to serve Him. We do need our adequate time with Him, there’s a difference you can tell if you aren’t getting it, but we need to have the mindset of “how can I bless You today, Lord? I know that it’s not just about me, and You want me to spend time with You, but I’m here to do Your will, not my own. To satisfy Your heart, not mine.” This is so hard to remember, I know, in the rush of life – our lives are His, not our own. We also need to remember though that once we’re making our time with Him selfless, He very willingly meets our needs and wants without us having to ask. So we cannot commit to something without first making sure that we’ve spent a lot of time with Him, or as much as humanly possible with our tasks that we do need to get done (work, church, grocery shopping, etc. – we need to do these things, because we need to be good providers and stewards of our families and what we’ve been given – God knows this, He understands, He expects this of us). What I’m really trying to say is, don’t make your time with God selfish. Do it for Him, not for yourself. Do more listening than praying, because He already knows your prayers anyway.
Sorry, I realize that the last paragraph was more off subject, but that’s on my heart because it’s what I need to do. I feel such a lack right now in my life because specifically the last week I haven’t been giving God my all. Life’s been busy, things have gotten in the way, but that still doesn’t matter. There’s no excuse, because nothing is more important than He is. I was really feeling convicted last night after a lovely couple surprised us at our house, and we visited for a bit, the whole while they were making comments on how much God has blessed us and how happy they are for us, and they prayed for us at the end of their visit, thanking God for our hearts, and…
Yeah, I’ll stop there. But basically, all that I do for God will never be enough, because I couldn’t ever give Him enough simply just for who He is, not only what He’s done for us.
I hope that you all can see just how much you’ve been blessed as well. Our situation actually doesn’t look like much to the average person, but knowing the background story, you’d catch just one more glimpse of how awesome and mighty our God is. Please do not take what I’m saying as boasting or pride or any of that – I mean it as humbly as possible, just wanting to remind you to look around and see what God has done for you. Then start serving Him wholeheartedly, and see where He takes you. Life with Him, with Him leading you I should say, is a whole new caliber of exciting, of enrichment, of life. The Bible states that we are new creatures in Him once believing in Him as our Savior, which not only means that the dead is gone and all is made new, but it also means that what was good in our lives before Him just became better now that we have Him. Now, tell me, who wouldn’t want a life like that? Yes it’ll be more difficult, but so much more fulfilling and satisfying.
Alright, I need to stop and move on to the next post, and I’ll try to stay on topic with the next. Just know that I love you guys, though most of you readers I probably don’t know, and I’m thinking of formatting these posts for this series a bit differently, beginning in the next post…
But yeah, I guess, just give God your all. You will see what I mean, when your life is flipped basically totally upside down and you’re in love with Him. It’s an amazing thing, something that we need to run after everyday. Because I’m only warning you, every fiber in our body wants to go against God. It’s our flesh – we don’t want to follow Him, and you’ll see how amazingly easy it is to get off track and to not fully seek Him. I’m not saying that it’ll be totally easy to fall back into sin – in a sense, it will be, but the more we seek God the more that our sin will seem further and further away, and the less we will desire what the world desires (sin, basically). But because we have fallen, and all fall short of the glory of God, it is not natural for our flesh to serve God, and basically for as long as we’re human, it’ll always be that way. We’ll, daily, need to beat our flesh into submission to read, to pray, to walk with Him. Yes, it gets easier, but it’ll still never be easy. Because if we’re seeking Him fully, it won’t become something religious or of tradition that we do, it’ll be difficult because Satan wants us almost as much as God does – and many of us know that he puts up a good fight.
Alright, I do need to stop though because I could continue on all day if I were allowed to.
The Bottom Line: Pray this over yourself, claim it: I am swift to hear and slow to speak. You, Lord, have set a guard over my mouth and You keep watch over the door of my lips. As long as I’m seeking You, You will direct and guide what I say. Holy Spirit, You’ll be the discernment that I need so that I will know when to speak and how to speak it.