With a toddler around, “What’s in your mouth?” is an oft-heard question, followed by “Spit that out right now.”
I think God would would to ask a lot of us the same question. Whether it’s the news or casual chit-chat at the grocery store or Facebook status updates and tweets on Twitter, folks are putting a lot of ugly, nasty stuff in their mouths … doom and gloom and misery and disaster and evil forebodings. (Technically, it’s cursing… speaking evil of something or someone.) If you’re a Christian, it’s customary to follow up these curses with a verbal 180 in the form of “We must pray!”
What if we just didn’t say all that stuff in the first place?
Sure, things would still happen… there would still be foolish politicians and lousy weather patterns and outbreaks of the flu, but at least they wouldn’t be fanned and fueled to wildfire proportions by a lot of verbal hot air.
Does it make a difference what we say? Does it really matter?
Jesus thought so…
21 “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ 22 I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.
Matt 5:21-22 (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)
34 “You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. 35 A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. 36 Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. 37 Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.”
Matt 12:34-37 (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)
Here’s a challenge. For the next day or so make a point to watch what you put in your mouth. Don’t speak what you don’t want. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want to have in your life. Stop mindlessly repeating reports of doom and destruction.
Just getting the negative out of your mouth will make a difference in how you feel, how you approach life, and how you respond to the people around you. Try it. You might like it!