When I was a very small girl, I stepped on a rusty nail while playing around a stack of old wood. I’ll never forget Sue Sammons having to hold me down as I screamed bloody murder, when Doc White plunged that tetanus shot into my behind! Oh yes! That day, Doc White was fifteen feet tall, had fangs and werewolf claws, and that syringe was as big as a cannon! Mom told me, “If you don’t take the shot, you’ll get lockjaw (tetanus)!” At the time, lockjaw didn’t seem like such a bad alternative; but alas, I was outnumbered!
Sometimes it would be nice to have selective lockjaw. We’ve become a society who so values a good comeback or “diss” or insult; and in honing our skills, we’ve become quite the verbal bullies. I want to address the issue of what’s coming out of your mouth. It’s so easy to fire off a good insult, but why do we have such a hard time firing off compliments? What’s WRONG with us? Do we honestly feel as if our sharp tongue makes us appear intellectually superior to the person we’re cutting down?
The memory of you will go on long after you’re gone. So think about this: would you rather be merely tolerable or actually loveable? To those people who surround you daily, I challenge you: be someone they cherish instead of having to put up with! Being nice is a deliberate action on our part. We can sputter and spout off and gripe about all that’s wrong, or we can be considerate, kind, and sow love seeds. You fall into one of two categories, whether you realize it or not. You’re someone people look forward to being around, or you’re someone they dread. You either make people feel poured into, or you drain their very spirit with your presence. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be someone for whom folks cringe at the sound of my voice on the phone, or dodge running into me in the grocery store or on the street. I don’t want them to think, “Oh mercy…I wonder what it’s going to be THIS time?”
Life’s too short to wallow in that mess! Even if you’ve been an old “sourpuss” your whole life, you can start today. Just as you’re getting ready to spew off an insult or a grouchy word at someone, I want you to stop and think of something good about that person. If it’s nothing better than, “Your hair’s parted straight,” then you pay that person a compliment instead of letting him or her have “what for.”
What comes out of your mouth is what’s been rolling around in your heart, so you’ve got to begin filling your spirit with good thoughts and not just everything that’s irritating or wrong. The Word says this: “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (Phil 4:8 MSG) Sure, it’s so easy for us to let that sarcasm fly…but don’t you do it. Not today.
I want you to pray this with me: “Lord, I’ve been guilty of letting my emotions rule me. I’ve done it so long that I’ve just let it get out of control. Today I ask for Your forgiveness and help. I don’t want to be someone whom my loved ones fear, dread, dislike, or even hate. Please help me to leave a better legacy than what I’ve been leaving. I surrender my heart and my mouth to You today. I will meditate on Your Word, I will guard the gateways of my eyes and ears so that I don’t feed on violence, prejudice, hatred, and negativity. I WILL think on the beautiful and not the ugly, and with Your help, I will speak life words and not death! If necessary, do to me as You did to Balaam who, every time he opened his mouth to pronounce a curse on Your people, found that blessing is all that would come out. Help me to find absolutely no pleasure in tearing down people with my words. I ask You to lay conviction HEAVY ON MY HEART. I want to please You, and I want to feel peace instead of frustration. I want to stop injuring the people I love with my words, attitudes, and actions. Most of all, I don’t want to embarrass YOU, displease You, or misrepresent You before a lost world. Holy Spirit, speak loud and clear to me today so that I won’t miss Your voice. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.” (Psalm 141:3 NLT)