“But God will shoot them with his arrows; they will suddenly be struck down.
He will turn their own tongues against them and bring them to ruin; all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.” Psalm 64:7-8
“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” James 3:5
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” Proverbs 18:21
“…For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34
We were newlyweds, and learning how to live with each other for the first time. The only trouble was we didn’t know how to disagree without throwing around fiery darts of judgments and attitude. My husband would go in shut down quiet mode cutting off all communication while I would rant and rave trying to get a response. Once he responded, there was a back and forth that resembled a courtroom, each of us digging at each other trying to make our case and aiming arrows at each other’s heart. It benefited no one. We quickly learned to change that method through processing our feelings first, and waiting until after the heat of the moment had passed. We learned that our feelings and perspectives about certain topics were not reasons for arguments. We learned to appreciate our differences and celebrate them seeing how perfectly God knit us together. We allowed God to work in our hearts changing us, melting us and molding us into “oneness” pruning what was choking us, grafting us to Him.
David was in the opposite position. David was surrounded by enemies who were slandering him. David was crying out for justice and comforted himself with what God would do to balance the scale. David knew the power of the tongue as he was the recipient of slander.
What is the common thread between newlyweds who have an argument and David’s situation? The tongue. Think about how you use your words when angry; are they edifying to God and the people you love? David’s enemies spoke curses over his life, gossiped about him, slandered him, wounding him with their sharp tongue, yet we treat the people we LOVE the same way at times. How treacherous. The trap is easy to fall into, and if two newlyweds who adore each other can fall into the trap then so will anyone.
At the moment when our tongue is not in control, we do so much more than inflict pain on others. When we fashion our words as weapons, we only end up attacking ourselves and those we hold dear. It’s a poison that you concoct for the other person that you, in turn, are forced to drink yourself. It is so powerful that when used in an ungodly manner, it can crush you to powder. The words that erupt from our mouth are the evidence of our hearts. The tongue is the great revealer of how you truly feel. When we speak out of anger what typically comes out is the truth. The victim of your anger can clearly see the roots of bitterness, resentment, anger, hurt, and woundedness that have taken residence in your heart.
Guarding your heart is integral to managing the tongue. Although James says that the tongue cannot be tamed, he is referring to our personal management of it. Our tongue is guarded by our mouth and our teeth, which is hardly enough to stop it from wounding others with its sharpness. However, God’s grace can govern our tongue by creating conviction in our hearts. If we think about the process that occurs when we get angry, it begins with a thought. Something occurred that we did not like, some exchange between our family members, co-worker, etc. Then comes a thought in the form of an offense. The offense begins to brew in our minds planting the root of rage, anger, hurt, bitterness, or woundedness. We began to use encompassing words such as, “He always does…”, “She never does”, and “I am tired of…”. Now we have the conditions for a perfect storm. The key is stopping the thought in its tracks. As soon as it begins to enter your consciousness, pray. Ask God to take the hurt, offense, or burden from you and to give you wisdom in responding or expressing your feelings in a way that is edifying to both you and the party involved. In doing so, it will not take root. Be sure to leave it with God, and don’t take it back.
Taking out the Trash is another way to guard your heart. I was reading an incredible book that gave a great analogy. Rats are attracted to garbage. You can clean around the garbage, change the garbage can and such, but if you don’t take out the garbage, the rats will keep coming. The Enemy and his followers are the rats. Many of us have picked up garbage in the span of our lifetime. These are things people have spoken over us, events in our childhood that changed the landscape of who we are, rejections, hurts, abandonment, and more. We become saved, and begin a new life in Christ, but forget to deal with the garbage. So, the rats come, attracted to the things that were never handled. All it takes is a situation in your personal life that triggers something in your garbage dump, and you find yourself unable to control your tongue.
So, how do we take out the trash? We can go to a counselor who is qualified in inner healing and can help you take out the trash. This is important especially if you feel that no matter what you do you are still plagued by your behavior. Another option is you can break the bondage and strongholds over your life by presenting the Light of Truth through journaling. Ask yourself these questions while journaling:
1 .How am I feeling right now?
2. Think of a time you have felt this way before ( a memory) How do you feel when you look at this memory?
3. Ask the Lord what the source of these feelings are and await His reply. Write down the memory He is giving you.
4. Ask the Lord to reveal His presence and His truth in the matter. Write down what the Lord says.
5. Break the strongholds and the bondage of what is revealed, such as self- promises “ I will never let anyone get close to me again” and lies you have believed about yourself and others.
6. Forgive those who have hurt you
7.Guard your heart against the trash that you just took out by putting on the armor of Christ each day and confronting any lies that try to creep back in.
We only produce the fruit crop from the seed that is planted within our hearts. This crop effects our spouses, our children, friends, co-workers, and anyone else weaved into the fabric of our lives. Is this the fruit harvest that you want to reap?
Prayer Starter: I come before you today, Lord, and ask you to give me Your grace. I have used my tongue to tear down and destroy, and I ask for forgiveness. Reveal to me the truth of my heart and uncover anything that is hidden within me. Help me dialogue with you to break the root of that which is causing me to sin. I pray for revelation, Lord, and thank You for Your love and mercy. In Jesus’s name, Amen.