Our words show where our hearts are at

Most of us have what we’d like to think of as ‘reasonable control’ of our words, right? Most of us aren’t screaming people all day. We are mostly nice, mostly polite, except when we’re really riled up, but that’s normal, right?

For me the problem with words is that they slip out. They slide right out and walk around in front of me, showing off and causing trouble.

You’d think that the whole talking process is a bit like this:

  • Someone says something.
  • I have thoughts
  • The thoughts meet my feelings
  • Using filters for context, personality and appropriateness, I decide what the response will be.

Yeah, no.

What tends to happen with me is that someone says something and INSTANTANEOUSLY a response erupts out of my mouth before I am even aware of what’s going on in my brain. Whatever filters I’ve got in there are pretty much the worst designed pieces of equipment in the entire world.

We’ve all had the same problem. Lots of us try really hard to watch what we say. But instead of worrying about it, we can use it to our advantage. Think of it this way; our words diagnose what’s in our hearts.

Most of us get into habits in the way we speak. One of my favourite TV shows at the moment is Brooklyn 99. ‘Boyle’ is an overenthusiastic character who loves a good catchphrase. One morning when he walks into work he discovers that all his colleagues have made a ‘Boyle Bingo’ game. They write down all the things they knew he’d say and then cross them off whenever they come out of his mouth.

What are our habits of speech? Are we constantly cynical? Always making jokes to deflect? Never making jokes? Always wanting to show we know more than others? Do we fall back into old habits around certain people? Or in certain situations?

In the Bible, James says, “If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is perfect.” And then, later, “…but no man can tame the tongue.”

I’ve tried to tame my tongue, but it keeps getting away from me. But our words are the symptoms of the ‘disease’ that’s going on in our hearts. We can’t just ‘try harder’ to control what we say. Instead, we need to have what’s inside dealt with.

 

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