Faith Column: Loving with your words and your actions
I have often found that my mouth gets me in trouble.
Does this problem afflict you? I am reminded of the joke that is phrased as a prayer: “Dear God, so far today I haven’t lied, cheated, stolen, been mean to others, or taken your name in vain but I am about to get out of bed so I may need your help today.”
Does this describe some of your days? Me, too! God made our mouths for eating and singing and speaking positive, encouraging words and for praising Him, but it can get us in trouble.
I sometimes wonder how I can be a loving, caring, sharing Christian and still say hurtful, hateful things. The Bible says that’s because of our heart. Matthew 15:18 states, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.”
So when I am hateful or hurtful in my speech it’s because I have a condition in my heart that needs attention. I know I’m not alone in my predicament for the Bible also says, “The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God” (James 3:5-6, ESV).
I have this dilemma.
Our activities at Love INC are guided by this verse “My children, our love should not be only words and talk. Our love must be true love. And we should show that love by what we do” (1 John 3:18, ICB). I know we get focused on the “show that love by what we do” portion but we often neglect the “should not be only words and talk.” It is obvious that words and talk are a large part of how we should show love. Once spoken, harsh words cannot be recalled.
They impact others and linger in memories for a long time, like the smell of rotten food. A Bible devotional that has recently helped me with my tongue problem, entitled “My Big Fat Mouth” (https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/4807), recommends focusing on three things. When criticism and harshness comes out of us, first, we need to seek Salvation and confess our sins. Meditate on God’s Word and fill your heart with him. Second, quit comparing ourselves to others and thus becoming discontent. Third, we need to change our focus and look to the blessings we have.
If we praise God for what we have, whether a little or a lot, and ask him to help us, we can have changed hearts and then we can gain better control of our tongues and truly love with our words as well as our deeds.
Patricia Jones is the Executive Director of Love INC of the Yampa Valley and can be reached at email@example.com.
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Just like you, I live with the fear of wildfire. My southern Oregon town of Ashland nestles against the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains, whose forests become tinder in our hot, dry summers.