HOW TO TAME YOUR TONGUE
Can you talk about Mr. X in his presence? Of course.
Can you talk about Mr. X when he is not around? Absolutely! Not always in a good way… but yes.
Now look at the same communication from a divine perspective.
Can you talk about Mr. X in God’s presence? Yes.
Can you talk about Mr. X outside of God’s presence?
See the difference? There is no sound-proof booth on earth that works against God. Not that God is a nosy eavesdropper. But He is everywhere and hears everything, even what we whisper in the bedroom or scream over the kitchen table.
Here is an important principle: If we please God with our tongue, chances are we please our spouse with our tongue. It is crazy to think that we hurl verbal abuse at our wives and still think God is smiling at us. It is even crazier to speak “God talk” on Sunday — peppering our speech with “Praise the Lord!”, Bible verses and even churchy terms — and spew sarcasm towards our spouse on Monday. Pardon my bluntness, but that is insane!
Carol Mayhall said, “I am convinced that if we dwell deep with God, the overflow is going to consistently seep into our conversation.” So how do we cultivate a tongue that pleases God and thus please our spouse?
Jesus had that covered. “Out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).
He enumerated the gunk that fills a heart and thus fills a tongue: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean. ” (Mark 7:20-23, see also Matthew 15:17-20).
Jesus really laid it out straight, didn’t He? So while we are being told to say this and don’t say that, we are focusing on externals. Why not go to the root and see what is in our hearts? Before you change your speech, change your heart.
Do you want to speak to your spouse in a way that pleases God? First, fill your heart with good things. If you continue to stock your heart with emotional trash, then it will be an uphill climb to tame your tongue. But if you fill your heart — better yet, let God fill it for you — then being a wise, gentle and encouraging spouse will be your very nature!
We hear of having a vision for our businesses and our marriages. But it also helps to have a vision for our own tongues. What kind of tongue do you want? Be specific, What does it sound like? Here’s what I wrote in mine:
A tongue that will refresh other people. People will feel safe to approach me and talk to me, knowing that what I will say has been tempered by God, giving light to his eyes and hope for his heart.
I am still a long, long way from my goal. But I pray that as I spend the rest of my life with Lucy, the Lord will tame my tongue to refresh her too, every day.
Photo credit from Riverside Christian Reformed Church