As I continued to ponder Romans 6:18, and continued to "enjoy" many opportunities to walk out what God showed me about my words, another verse came to mind. I bet you can guess which one.
Yes, the infamous James passage about the tongue. Specifically, these verses, James 3:9-10 (NIV):
In God's fine-tuning of my words, He showed me cursing isn't always overt, loud, or angry. I started an email to someone with, "I finally have access to...". Implied was that getting access was a pain, and took longer than expected. I had to change "finally" to "now" in response to a nudge from my spirit.
God revealed to me a series of questions I can ask myself about all I write, speak, and even think.
Is what I'm about to write or speak going to:
- build up...or tear down?
- encourage...or discourage?
- praise...or cut down?
- bring laughter...but at someone else's expense?
- sound witty...or cutting?
- promote unity...or breed strife?
- make peace...or incite war?
- make someone laugh...or hurt their feelings/mock them?
- honor...or disrespect?
- foster trust...or spread gossip?
Quite a list, isn't it? I don't know about you, but I have many days where I spend way more time on the right side than on the left side.
God showed me the "or's" in this list are cursing - bringing death with my words instead of speaking life. I can share two hours of awesome God stories with someone, and invalidate it in a quick minute with careless cursing.
Granted, our lives are about God and not about us or about "getting it right". But we are called to bring Him glory and honor, and witness to his goodness. How can we do that when we curse, sometimes more than we praise?
I'm definitely a work in progress, and I know I'll be pondering these truths for quite some time. And hopefully I'll continue to yield to the refiner's fire as the Lord continues to bring it.
Will you join me?
Do you have other items to add to this list? I'd love to hear what the Lord shows you!