Stop biting your tongue!
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8
Yesterday, I was speaking to our girls Bible study group about the importance of reigning in your tongue. One book we were looking at suggested saying the opposite of what you felt like saying until you got in the habit of saying positive things. Another said to think about how what you were about to say would make you feel if it were said to you.
Good advice for twelve year olds, and good advice for us. I reminded them, however, that our goal is not to simply stop saying the hurtful things, but to stop thinking them. And don’t worry, I fessed up that, at thirty one, I still struggle with this.
Yes, I want these girls to learn to think before they speak. Wouldn’t that be something? Yet I don’t want them to focus on biting their tongue so much as training their mind.
So often, our talks in this little group linger in my heart and God uses my own advice to convict me. Do I lash out at others without thinking or say mean things? Not so much. Thinking hurtful things? Guilty. Feeling smug for managing to not let these thoughts turn into words? Oops. Double whammy.
Jesus tells us that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12). So, if like me, you have your tongue under control, but not your heart, beware. These things have a way of coming out eventually. Instead of worrying that someday my harsh thoughts about others will rise to the surface, I think I’ll work on my heart.
I’ll choose to fix my thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and yes, what is admirable about my brothers and sisters. I’ll put my focus on things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Maybe I won’t have to bite my tongue so often.