Today’s Truth

“The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart. Good people have good things in their hearts, and so they say good things. But evil people have evil in their hearts, so they say evil things” (Matthew 12:34-35 NCV).

Friend to Friend

Fruit is one of my favorite foods. However, when I go grocery shopping, it takes me longer to get through the fruit section than any other storage area. Experience has taught me to quickly discard any piece of fruit bruised, mushy, or discolored.

On a recent trip to the grocery store, I carefully made my fruit selections when I thought that I spent more time choosing fruit than I spent choosing my words.

Words are power tools that can build and encourage. But unfortunately, words can also destroy and confuse. We have all been hurt and even defeated by words spoken in anger or words rising out of a wounded and bitter heart. I have been guilty of speaking damaging words with the ulterior motive of flaunting power or demonstrating control. It is so easy for my mouth to be in motion before my mind is in gear, and the result is rarely good or godly.

The words we speak can clarify or complicate a situation. I have watched my husband diffuse an emotional bomb and avoid a potentially explosive situation with a few carefully chosen and quietly spoken words of wisdom. But, I have also observed him in the art of confrontation – and with Dan, it is an art. One person told me that he was halfway home before realizing that Dan had just confronted and corrected him.

Solomon offers excellent wisdom concerning the use of words, “Whoever controls his mouth protects his own life. Whoever has a big mouth comes to ruin” (Proverbs 13:3 GW). If we do not learn to use and control our tongue, it will use and control us. While it is true that we need to choose our words carefully, it is just as accurate that the tongue is a spiritual thermometer that reflects the condition of the heart.

I am not a good patient and tend to think that most medical rules apply to everyone else in my life – but not to me. Several years ago, I was slammed with a high fever and blinding headache that sent me to bed for days, something highly unusual for me. I called my doctor. When he heard my symptoms, he told me to come in immediately. His urgency was not encouraging.

The minute I walked into his office, the receptionist waved me back to the patient area, where a nurse promptly escorted me to an examination room, hurriedly recorded my symptoms, took my temperature, glanced briefly at my throat, and quickly left the room. Minutes later, the doctor and a nurse walked in and stood on the opposite side of the room, almost smiling at me. At this point, I realized that whatever I had was highly contagious and probably fatal. Yet, on the other hand, I felt so awful that the latter was appealing.

“Mary, I am almost certain you have viral meningitis,” the doctor said. Then, seeing the blank look on my face, he explained, “Your abnormally high fever of 104 and severe headache are classic symptoms of meningitis, but we need to run some tests to verify my suspicions. Oh, and by the way, how long have you had the solid white coating on your tongue?” I was stunned. What coating? Why is the color of my tongue even crucial in determining my illness? The doctor continued, “The health of the tongue is a powerful indicator of the health of the entire body.”

The same is true when it comes to the words we speak.

“The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart. Good people have good things in their hearts, and so they say good things. But evil people have evil in their hearts, so they say evil things” (Matthew 12:34-35 NCV).

Careless words can cause such grief and can convey false perspectives and untruths. However, the right word, spoken at the right time and in the right way, can bring order during confusion and light on a very dark path. I believe God gives us spiritual “radar” to assess a situation and speak the right word for that circumstance. We need to check the “radar screen” before we speak.

Let’s Pray

Father, I can be so careless with the words I speak. Forgive me. Please help me learn how to control my tongue. Create in me a clean heart, God, so that I can speak words filled with grace and love.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Are your words gracious and effective? Do you speak life into your family and friends? It’s time to check the radar of your heart.

More from the Girlfriends

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© 2022 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.

3 Responses to “Oh My Words!”

  1. Cynthia Neville says:

    I appreciate your devotional this morning. Words are powerful, and can really hurt or build someone up. Once spoken can’t be taken back.
    Thank you!

  2. Carol says:

    Thank you, Mary, for “chapter 2” of yesterday’s word control lessons for life!
    I just looked up Proverbs 31:26 “When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule for everything she says” (LBT)
    As I have been going through my own-self journey, with this subject, I know I’ll be tested.
    This past Sunday, (ironic…right after Sunday service) I actually, had an event happen physically, that led me to believe it was an attack from the enemy. My defense was praying the 23rd Psalm and saying Jesus’ name repetitively. In 30 mins., my spirit started to lift and the physical became lighter!
    Thank you for bringing this sneaky subject out into the light of love and kindness.

  3. Bernadette says:

    Words can build someone up or break them down. We should strive to build up and not breakdown. Thank you for the reminder.

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