Half of the year has passed, and I'm still striving to pursue love. A love that stretches beyond myself, beyond my own capabilities. Loving with a love that is deeper than my own, "...to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge..." Ephesians 3:19, and then extend it to others.
A very practical way to love others is through my use of words. This is an area that the Lord is teaching me and refining me in right now (and I am definitely still "in progress"). Why, when, and how to use my words...and how my tone is just as important as my choice of words.
As a parent, this is certainly an area of testing, isn't it? Our words easily fly out of our mouth without being checked at the door. Our tone and volume can escalate in the blink of an eye. And this can occur right after singing praises or praying to God. Why is this? As James so aptly states, "...from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way" (3:10).
I don't want my speech to be marred by ugliness. I want it to be life-giving and refreshing and encouraging. "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24.
I want my words to be fitting to the situation and the hearer, "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29. I confess, I am very familiar with this verse, but to my shame, often times my speech does not reflect my familiarity with it. This ought not to be! And I am not fooled into thinking that I'm the only one who struggles with taming my tongue; I am not alone in this battle, "If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well...but no one can tame the tongue." James 3:2,8.
So, what ought I to do? How can I speak words of life, joy, peace, and love in my day-to-day life? How can I be better prepared for the times when I am unaware that the temptation to speak otherwise is just one slip of the tongue away? How might my hearers (most often, my husband and children) be recipients of grace through my words? By spending plenty of time with the Word - Jesus! He is the perfect, life-giving, and most holy speaker that ever was or will be! I can learn from Him. I can sit as His feet and allow Him to teach me how to use words purposefully and appropriately, carefully and gracefully. As well as, looking to Him for the discernment to know when it is prudent and beneficial to simply remain silent. I can drench myself in His Word so deeply that, as Sinclair Ferguson describes, "I cannot speak with any other accent." "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you" so that "with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God." Colossians 3:16.
What a wonder it would be for the heart of my hearers to relate to my words in the same way that the Psalmist described God's Word, "How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Psalm 119:103. May their response be this way because, and only because, my words are adorned with God's own words and it leaves them with the lingering fragrance of His grace and a longing for more of Him. And all this for the glory of my King!
His Word changes my words, because His Word changes my heart. O Lord, help me to love You and others by using my words according to Your purpose and for Your glory.
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14.