Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Women in the Word Wednesdays: Mom Words: 6-22-11
I saw the pattern when I was teaching. The kids would walk into the classroom in the morning, and I'd have tons of patience and energy. My instructions would sound like this: "Boys and girls, have a seat." "Johnny, your homework folder is supposed to be out on your desk. Please get it out." "Yes, Susie, you can sharpen your pencil, but try not to break it again." (for the 10th time in an hour). "Charlie, when you sneeze, you need to cover your mouth. Now Mrs. H needs to go wash her hands" (and face and clothes).
By the end of the day, my instructions sounded more like this (raise voice volume by about 3X the previous volume): "Boys and girls, SIT DOWN! We now have 2 minutes off of recess. Get your act together!" "Johnny, I have given this direction about 3 times now. Why in the world are you still doing math? Look around you at the boys and girls who were listening and see what you should be doing." (sarcasm slightly dripping off this last speech). "Susie, I don't understand why no other person in the class has to sharpen their pencil 5 times during writing. SIT DOWN! If you can't figure it out without getting up again to sharpen your pencil then you can do it for homework." "Charlie, you are 8 years old. You should know that you don't rub snot on your hand or arm and then touch everything. Go get a Kleenex and then wash your hands. None of us want to catch your cold."
Sigh. Now that I'm a mom, I notice this pattern at home. In the morning my boys meet patient, quiet mom who disciplines with firmness but gentleness. By 4:00, (really right before naps around 1:00), I turn into grumplestilkskin mom (we call my son grumplestilkskin to get a smile from him when he is grumpy and in a bad mood) and sin with impatience, anger and sarcasm in my words.
Am I alone in this? I doubt it. The Bible tells us that if we can control our tongue, we can control our whole body! "For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body." James 3:2 God recognizes this is a hard area of obedience.
Controlling our speech is difficult, but God STILL asks us to be righteous in what we say. If He is Lord of our lives, we are representing Him to others, and yucky words can ruin His reputation. We cannot reach this righteousness on our own. However, we have the Holy Spirit to sanctify us in this area. We will become more and more grieved at our sin in this area--not hardening our hearts to the conviction we feel when we are rude or hurt others. We will REPENT of our sinful words and ask for forgiveness from those we have hurt and especially from God. We will pursue wisdom in this are from God's Word and seek help in prayer.
God tells us a clear guideline for talking. Ephesians 4:29 says, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Hmmmm. There isn't any gray area here. If you are not encouraging or building up someone, giving grace to the person(s) hearing your words, then you are sinning in your speech. We are not to slander, gossip, complain, gripe, swear, whine, lash out in anger, repay hurt with words in order to get justice, belittle, etc.
I'm thinking--when will I speak? Speaking less is a good thing if I can't control my tongue! Ecclesiastes 5:2 says, "Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few." However, God still wants encouraging words to come from our mouths. Pray for the person who hurts you. Leave it there--don't complain and share the situation with everyone. Tell the person who does a good job or who shows obedience to God that you see God growing them to His glory! Confess your discontent heart to God and ask for Him to teach you patience and trust in all circumstances. Admonish in love and encourage in love--with a godly filter.
You get the picture. Let's work on this together! Find a friend who can hold you accountable and ask you how you did each day. If possible, find a friend who struggles LESS than you in this area. It is easy to excuse one another if you both are failing to live up to God's commands in this area. I'll be praying for you all and, of course, for my own growth in this area!
Photo credit: cc license: ninasaurusrex on Flickr, 2008