The presence of a child (or children) in your life begins putting everything into a different perspective. I feel a stronger need to eat in a more wholesome way knowing that my children will want to eat what I eat. I feel a need to be less fearful and more outgoing around others knowing that my sons and daughter will watch how I interact with the world in order to help them determine what is safe and healthy. In the same way, I feel a need to choose my words carefully, knowing that these young ones hear everything I say.
It has me thinking about the things I say and why I say them. Admittedly, my speech is not always uplifting. There are things I say that I would never want my kids to repeat. Why then, I find myself wondering, do I say those things if I wouldn’t want them repeated? Aren’t there other words I could use to communicate my frustration or anger? Why do I choose the words I choose?
To say I use certain words for emphasis, “to really make my point,” is starting to sound like a hollow excuse. “The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean. For out of the heart come evil thoughts…(and) slander.” Jesus’ warning there seems to blow my “emphasis” argument out of the water. Why am I that angry in the first place? Why do I feel such strong negative feelings about another human? Leave it to God to cut to the chase: a dirty mouth comes from a dirty heart. I wish cleaning up my dirty mouth was as easy as chewing a piece of gum.
The Holy Spirit has been convicting me lately, and it isn’t all that comfortable. You see, I’ve grown accustomed to using certain words and phrases. I don’t even think about them sometimes; they just roll off my tongue in moments of stress or anger or pain. Lately I’ve been trying to change my language and use alternative words.
But I’m slowly realizing that the problem isn’t the words I use.
The problem is the heart of disrespect those words spring from.
It isn’t alternative words I need. It’s a heart renovation. I’m pretty sure they don’t make chewing gum that powerful.
I strive now to be one whose words are speech always seasoned with salt, fueled by compassion, delivered with patience, informed by wisdom, and clarified by discernment.