He could see the words escaping his mouth and he wanted them back. Instead, they delivered a crushing blow to the young player he was coaching. In a moment of frustration and impatience, the coach said things that were truthful and hurtful all at once. If he had only hesitated for a moment. If he had only thought before he spoke. But he didn’t.
Proverbs 29:20–“Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (NASB).
The truth hurts (at least it hurts me!).
Let’s be honest, we say what we mean. Everything that leaves our mouths originates in our hearts. No exceptions.
“That wasn’t me.” “I don’t know where that came from.” Right. You and I know exactly where it comes from. Inside of us rages a sinful nature waiting to be unleashed. Our words are often the most accessible outlet.
If we are not in the habit of weighing seriously what we say, we become more hopeless than the biblical fool, the one who is godless.
Give this a shot this week:
1. Ask God to guard the content of your heart. What you allow to simmer there (anger, resentment, jealousy, etc.) will express itself in what you say and how you say it. Only God can change your heart. Start there.
2. Ask God to help you view others the way God views you: simultaneously as a sinner and an object of his love.
3. Consider the potential impact of everything you say. To your spouse, your kids, your friends, your team, whomever. No, you don’t have the right to say whatever you want. You gave that up when you surrendered to Jesus. Yes, your words can be a powerful tool for positive impact, so use them appropriately.
4. When you mess up (not if, but when), ask God and others for forgiveness. “I’m sorry you were offended” doesn’t cut it. “I’m sorry. I was wrong. I messed up.” That’s more like it. Repent. Ask forgiveness. Move forward.
We say what we mean. It comes from the heart. Our words are powerful. Those who forget this are foolish.
Here’s a prayer:
Lord Jesus, I give you the content of my heart. Take from it anything that is not of you. Please help me to say only what is pleasing to you and helpful to others. I can’t do that on my own. Change me. Amen.