by Andrew Cromwell
Don’t you love it when you put your foot in your mouth? If you have ever asked a woman how far along she was in her pregnancy only to discover that she wasn’t pregnant to begin with, then you know what that feels like! Or maybe your problem is you just say too much. What starts out as a run-of-the-mill conversation about the weather with the stranger standing in the elevator next to you, turns into a detailed description of your last medical procedure. Of course, some of us find ourselves saying WAY too much whenever we get angry. The moment we feel that our rights have been violated in some way, we launch into a tirade and rip the offender to shreds.
My mom has a wonderful way to describe this tendency that people have. She calls is "diarrhea of the mouth". Just like the real thing, this condition stinks and makes a mess. Without getting too graphic, when someone has this condition they leave a lingering odor that tends to permeate everything. When it is all said and done, someone has to clean up the mess.
But there is a simple solution. Stop running your mouth. Think before you speak. Say half of what you want (especially when your words are motivated by frustration or anger). The Bible has a lot to say about the power of words. Proverbs says that even a foolish person seems wise when he keeps his mouth shut!
Proverbs 10:19 says that when there are a lot of words, we can’t help but get ourselves into trouble! Proverbs 18:21 says that words can either kill or give life, it’s up to us what kind we serve up. James says that the tongue is the most powerful muscle in the body, even though it is one of the smallest. It has the power to steer your whole life! Through the power of the tongue we can either invite heaven or hell into our life and home.
What’s the state of your mouth? Do you find yourself spewing out too many words and leaving wounded people behind you wherever you go? Take a moment and review the impact you have on those around you, maybe it’s time to make some adjustments.
Those who study public relations tell us that it takes seven positive stories to counteract one negative one. I think it is the same with words. One damaging word is not erased by one positive word. The destructive force of words that burn, bite and tear down often seem to have greater impact than those that build, encourage and bless. That is why it is so important for us to speak words of life ALWAYS!
We need to speak encouragement into our kids and into our spouse. That person checking us out at the store? They need encouragement too. What about that tech person we try to understand when we call customer service? They’re a person too and our words can bless them (how often do we do that?).