“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV).
Friend To Friend
I remember taking my son, Steven, to an amusement park just before he began fourth grade. It was hot, the lines were long, and I began to feel queasy from being gyrated and jerked to sudden stops from 60 miles per hour. I wasn’t sure Steven realized what a great mom he had. I was feeling quite the martyr and felt the need to remind Steven just how lucky he was to have a mother like me. But before the words escaped from my mouth, the Holy Spirit gently stopped me. Was that what I really wanted to say? Would those words make Steven feel “lucky” or would they make him feel guilty, like he owed me something?
Instead of uttering my initial thought, I wrapped my arms around my precious young son and said, “Steven, I am so lucky to have a son like you that I can bring to a place like this!”
With those words, a dimpled smile spread across his precious face, and I was thankful for the splash of the watery roller coaster that disguised the tears streaming down my face.
If I had spoken that first sentence, Steven would not have felt lucky to have a mom like me at all. He would have felt guilty, and that he needed to pay me back for my “kindness.” However, the revised version made him feel special, treasured, and loved.
Now, who was encouraged? Actually, we both were.
Perhaps you have some old tapes from your past that you tend to replay with your own children. Did your mother make comments that caused you to feel guilty or as if you were indebted to her for the care she gave you? Perhaps she still does. Many moms could be travel agents for guilt trips. Is that how you want to be remembered?
Guilt is like verbal heartburn or acid reflux of the soul. It just keeps on coming back and coming back. But we can change the verbal menu and decide not to serve up a dish of words that cause indigestion!
I had success with my words that day at the amusement park, but not every day has been a banner day. I have used my words to tear down instead of build up. I have failed many times. The tongue is difficult to control. It can only be tamed by the power of the Holy Spirit. God has given those who are in Christ Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit. He is referred to as our “Helper.” Just like a wild lion who is trained by hours and hours of discipline, so our tongue can be tamed by prayer and practice.
Dear LORD, today, I simply want to pray back Your Word. I pray that You will help me not to let any unwholesome word come out of my mouth today, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs. If it isn’t helpful, may I keep my mouth shut. If it builds them up, may I speak freely and often.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
OK, this is a tough one. If you’re reading this devotion in the morning, I want you to pay attention to the words you speak today.
As you go through the day categorize your spoken words as:
Helpful or Unhelpful
Edifying or Unedifying
If you are reading this devotion at the close of the day, you’re not off the hook. This is your assignment for tomorrowJ.
Good Morning Sharon,
Thank you for the May 14, 2010 devotion. I was raised by a very depressed mother over her very unhappy marriage to my dad. She viewed me as his favorite and I always seemed to get the brunt of her anger. She was very emotionally and mentally abusive. I truly believe I would have raised my three children the same way without the Lord in my life. Jesus has opened my eyes to many things and brought much peace and hope to my heart. There are days I fail miserably and loose my temper too quickly, but I try to apologize quickly as well. I am learning to control my tongue when I want to throw verbal abuse there way like my mother did. But, it is a daily battle, but I know throw GFIG and my other devotional I read daily the Devil is starting to loose the battle and the holy spirit is taking over. Have an awesome weekend and thank you for the encouragement every day including Gwen and Mary as well.
Sherri Jensen, South Dakota
Your message today is awesome. Truly one I am applying the rest of the day. Thank you.
This is a wonderful message! As a parent and a teacher I see how my words can be a blessing or a curse. I was blessed by a mother who let me know each and every day that I was a loved child and a blessing to her and my brother – she is that way still, 50 years later. The Holy Spirit has nudged me in the way to help out so many children who are hurting and I thank Him for this. Thank you for blessing me with this message as yet another nudge from Him.
Blessings to you and your family,
I really liked this message. It made me tear up when I read it. I have a lot of old tapes that get replayed even when I don’t want to..in a dream, a holiday, a birthday or when I get the blues. I pray to God for him to erase the ugliness of my childhood..and it works for a month or two and then my mom comes with her record player to bring me back to a time when she was in control or as she says reminding me of the mistakes that I made befor I was christian, and to keep me grounded and remember where I came from. Have I really gotten over it? Can someone tell me?
I wish I had known when my children were small just how much my “negative” attitude and words could hurt them. I was a Christian, but not as in tune as I should have been. I look back now and am so ashamed. I know that God has forgiven me and I have asked my boys to, but the words are still there. Thanks for this devotion. My prayer is that many young mothers will read it and realize they really need to weigh their words before they speak them. God bless you!