I’m often surprised by what comes out of my mouth.
I speak for a living. So if you count the number of words I say in public, add the fatigue that comes from raising four daughters, and multiply that by my goofy sense of humor, it’s just a matter of time before I say something really embarrassing.
For example: Session 5 of a 6 week Marriage Workshop left me scrambling to get enough words out of my mouth in order to squeeze in all the content that these couples needed. Pressed for time, with much content to spew, I greeted the attendees, saying, (I am not kidding) “Good morning folks! We’ve got a lot to cover today, so I’m going to talk fast. We have 6 pages of material to get through, so let’s knock ‘em up and set ‘em down!”
If you missed it, go back and read it again.
There was a 3 second pause as 20 stunned couples sat, processing what they just heard. And a moment later we were all gasping for air, laughing uncontrollably at my gaffe. I’ve got a dozen stories like that.
Sometimes the wrong words come out of our mouths.
Sometimes it’s just an innocent mistake, a slip of the tongue. But other times it’s not. Sometimes the words we say represent what’s really going on in our heart. And if we’re honest, sometimes that’s not pretty.
We live in a day and age where everybody’s got something to say. But is everything worth saying?
If social media is any judge of what’s actually happening in people’s lives, (God, help us if it is) then a popular New Year’s Resolution was, “I’m going to be true to myself and say what I really want to this year!”
Really? Oh good. That’s just what the world needs.
What I know about being “true to myself” is that sometimes words spill out of my mouth that are not helpful. In fact, they’re hurtful. Ugly. Disrespectful. Damaging. Why is it that gossip and jealousy and spite roll out of the same mouth that speaks words of love and affirmation to the most important people in our lives?
Has this ever bothered you? Have you ever had an insult leap out of your mouth, only to think, “Where did that come from?” You’re not alone.
This problem is not unique to today. But today we seem to have lost touch with the reality of the impact of our words. We live in a culture that tells us, “Let it fly! Don’t hold back. Just say whatever comes out!” Never mind whether or not it hurts someone.
To make matters worse, today everyone has a platform. Thanks to the proliferation of technology, our voices can reach farther than ever. Facebook, Twitter, even this blog, provide an opportunity for connection across countries, cultures and contexts. It’s a beautiful time to have something to say.
It’s also a tragedy to have the means to say something, and have nothing worth saying.
Maybe it’s time for our generation, whose voices are amplified than any other time in history, to pause and look at the content of what we’re saying.
- How can we be sure that what we have to say is worth saying?
Jesus had a way of saying things in a way no one else could. After hearing him speak, his hearers would often fall silent. His words cut through the clutter and hit home, opening up new understanding.
When Jesus spoke of the mouth, he connected it directly to the heart. He put it this way:
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Luke 6:43-45)
What’s coming out of our mouths is coming from our hearts. They are as connected as a tree and its fruit. So if we don’t like the words that are spilling out of our mouths, it’s time to look at what’s “stored up” in our hearts.
So what about you?
- Do you have something to say? Is it worth saying?
- Are your relationships helped or hurt by your words?
- Are you connecting the dots between your heart and your mouth?
- Judging by what comes out of your mouth, does your heart need some work?
Maybe it’s time to take a look at at the words coming out of your mouth as an indicator of what’s in your heart.
Do you want to be heard? Do you want to make an impact in this world? Then slow down. Take a minute to examine what’s below the surface. Because what’s inside of you cannot be contained. It will be revealed, often when you least expect it.
This month on the blog we’ll be taking a look at the voice God has given us, and how to make the most of it.
Want to be heard?
Watch your mouth. It’s attached to your heart.