James 1: 19-20, 26
19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. 20 For human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. . . 26 If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile.
I read a post by Shauna Niequist on how she had decided to give up negative words for "lent" . At the time, I thought, "oh I can relate, what a good idea!" but did nothing about it. Today, I became acutely aware of the power of my tongue. In a 24 hr period I had received words from a couple of friends and a reader that my words encouraged them, then in a mere sunset and sunrise I managed to make all my "religion..futile" by allowing my tongue to wag during a moment of frustration and while "preaching the truth". My words were harsh and full of judgement. At the time I really believed it came from a good place, but I was angry...and I failed to do it in a manner that demonstrated love.
This is not the first time this has happened to me, unfortunately. My mouth gets me in trouble more than anything else.
How precious our words can be to uplift and inspire hope and faith. At the same time, how wicked they can be to destroy a testimony and break a fellowship. My heart is broken, my eyes are turned down in embarrassment and I am emotionally on my knees over my sin. I've sought forgiveness and received it and yet I cannot take back the moment. I cannot change the hurt it may have caused and I cannot get rid of the knot in my gut. I cannot.
I believe that God gave me the gift of encouragement, but I don't allow my gift to be used like it should because I am too busy sharing my opinion or griping over what bothers me...and that bothers me. So, it may not be Lent...but I want to make a conscious effort to guard my tongue..to not share my opinion unless asked and then very cautiously and prayerfully, to only speak words that are uplifting and encouraging, to not complain and to learn to shut up.
Please pray that I may accept the forgiveness given to me, relationships would be reconciled (especially to the Lord), and that I may demonstrate an attitude that is representative of the gift given me to ultimately honor and praise the Lord.