Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Door of My Lips - Sunday Word

The title of this post is actually part of a verse from the bible.  A verse that is written on a bright yellow notecard and taped by my computer.

Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD;
keep watch over the door of my lips.  psm 141:3NIV

Keep watch over the door of my lips - I love that.

It's a reminder that much like my mouth, I choose to open a door.  Or close it.   

Anyway, I keep the card by my computer as a daily reminder that what comes from my mouth can heal others but that it can also hurt.  I fear know that many of the words that have passed through my lips have caused as much damage as they have comfort. 

I just have one of those personalities.  You know the one - speaking before thinking and wanting to take the words back as soon as they escape your mouth.

Plain and simply put, I just talk too much. 

I'm getting better at thinking before I speak.   I don't know if it's getting older or just conviction.  It may be the fact that I have learned to quite literally bite my tongue instead of speaking.   I hope it's more conviction, though.  I'd like to think I've learned by my mistakes.  Believe me, there have been many.

I also recognize that I've experienced enough healing from the kind words of others that I want mine to do the same.  I know that when others tell me that something I said comforted them, it makes me thankful I paused long enough to choose the right words.

There is a page in my bible that is literally covered with every verse about the tongue.  I've referred to it over and over through the years.  My true hope here is that God's word is finally sinking through.

So back to this little yellow card taped by my computer.   Sometime ago, our pastor talked about this verse above and listed some questions we could ask ourselves before we speak.   They have been ever so helpful for me so I thought I'd share them with you.  

  • Is what I'm about to say helpful?
  • Is it going to build up or tear down? 
  • Is it going to benefit those who listen?
  • Am I talking to the right person?  
These work especially well with my family.  Often the worst of words come from my lips to those I love the most.   What I sometimes think of as discipline or as a suggestion come off as just plain nagging.  

The last one is actually my favorite.   It's a reminder to talk to God first.   One thing I think I'm pretty good at is complaining.   We all gotta be good at something, right?   James 3:5 reminds us that complaining is usually dangerous and destructive.    My intention is never to be those things.  It actually hurts my heart to imagine causing that to anyone in my life.   So, I try to pray first.  Not to complain but to share my heart.  Okay, maybe to complain sometimes.  He is big enough to listen to my complaint.  But it's not long in my conversation with God that I end up thanking him for something and have forgotten about my complaint.    So, by the time I reach the person in which I have my complaint, I'm pretty much over it.

Tuesday on What I Learned This Week, I think I'm going to talk a little more about complaining and what I've learned through leading others.   Tune in then.

I don't usually say much more than a verse that is on my heart on my little Sunday Word posts.  But today my heart wanted me to write this out.    Mostly, as just a reminder to myself.   

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Anita said...

Janel, I am glad you wrote this today, as I too have a very vocal personality. I have learned to speak less and listen more, but I struggle.
Thanks my friend.

Sandy said...

Thanks for the great "exposition" on the verse! What a good reminder of all these things, all of which I NEED!

Tatum said...

For such a tiny part of our body the tongue sure can wreck havoc. I am learning that saying nothing is often the wisest choice. Its that discernment that I am constantly in the process of learning.

Thank you for your honesty!

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