I’m a big fan of words and talking with both people I know and people I’m about to know. This is a positive because I can quickly connect with people. It’s not always a positive though because I can easily speak before thinking, which leads to me feeling stupid and self-conscious and wondering how I may have hurt someone. As much as I taught my kids to THINK, carrying that out hasn’t always been my strong point.
So this week I’m focusing on five ways that I might watch my mouth. Want to try them too?
Speak about Jesus
No surprise that I’d start there, right? Well, this is a blog that talks about Jesus and how he impacts our earthly and eternal lives, so this was an obvious choice.
Because faith in Jesus completely changes our identity from enemy of God to child of God, it changes how we talk. About two thousand years ago, two men (named Peter and John) said, “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:21). These were men who had lived and walked with Jesus, and they couldn’t shut up about him. We can’t either. Give him the glory and the credit for the blessings in your life, how he answers prayer, how you see him work.
As the topic of mental health takes center stage in national and international discussions, the Bible is clear that each one of us can play a part in helping others. As Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”
The people around you are struggling with issues you don’t even know about. Choose kind words that build them up—and let God bless them through you.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).
But, but, but . . . our self-centeredness rises up on this one. I’m supposed to listen first, think about it, and then speak? Whoa. That doesn’t come naturally. Thanks to the Holy Spirit living inside of us, we have the gift of self-control. Ask him to help you use it—to remind you to listen and think before you react, give advice, or get angry.
A popular phrase reminds us that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” It’s a reminder that people who have a voice need to speak up for those who don’t. The Bible puts it this way: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8,9).
When you are put in a position to fight for justice and to do what’s right—whether it’s for the poor, the unborn, the elderly, the addicted, the lonely, or anyone else who was formed by God—you have a responsibility toward them.
This is a hard one—and one I worked on last week. I made a poor life choice by reading some comments in a Facebook group that I knew would leave me discouraged and disheartened. I wanted to leave comment after comment about why I (vehemently) disagreed with their opinions. Instead, I realized it was time to take the passage seriously about not throwing your pearls to swine. No amount of internet discussion was going to change the situation, and I would just be wasting my time and giving away my joy. So I kept my mouth shut and closed the browser.
I’ll be honest. I had more than five things listed, but I’m already over my word count, so I’ll save the rest for another time.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor and talker—even (and especially) with strangers at Trader Joe’s. Each week this month, she’s been focusing on a different resolution. (The idea is that not many people follow through on resolutions, so if we focus on one each week, then keeping them is achievable.) The first week was “Resolve to serve,” and last week was “Exercise your faith.”