The key to unlocking the ability to control your mouth
Have you ever said something you later regret? I have — more times than I’d like to admit. The old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is just not helpful. Instead, use words to frame your world. When a person speaks without thinking, it leads to reckless words, which can cause hurt. But when a person knows how to unlock the ability to control their mouth, they can use words carefully, thoughtfully, and intentionally.
Here are seven key attributes of words to help unlock the ability to control your mouth:
1) Words build.
Words are like bricks. You must build them carefully if you want to make something of significance.
One brick is not going to frame the walls of a building.
One encouraging sermon is not going to affect your life.
One inspiring ted talk will not bring lasting change.
A steady diet of words will build you to become like the content of the words. Evaluate the words you speak. Your words are like a frame of a building.
2) Words direct.
“Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook” (Proverbs 18:4). Words are like a stream that carries direction. Wise words bring wisdom, and wisdom gives direction. Do you need guidance for your life? Listen for wise words from others. Search for wise words in the books you read. Fill yourself with wise words so you have a source from which to speak.
3) Words create.
Words have creative power. If you have ever felt unloved, rejected, or hurt by someone, imagine hearing those three words: “Please forgive me.” Loving words can heal the wounds of hurtful words. God created the world by his words. What is seen was not created by what is visible (Hebrews 11:3). Understanding how words have creative power can inspire you to use them for good.
4) Words destroy.
Adolf Hitler started a war with a microphone. His words framed a worldview to work towards a pure race. His words led to the horrors of the Holocaust. Words have started wars. Words have ended wars. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).
5) Words seem small.
Like a tiny spark can cause a forest fire, words can seem insignificant. Just a little comment.
Just innocent gossip based on a little lie.
Just a rumor.
However, rumors leave a wake of destruction. If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all. Silence is golden.
6) Words are long-lasting.
Words seem small but have a long-lasting impact. As a kid, I was on the chubby side, and I remember a neighbor pointing out that I was husky, which in those days was a nice way of saying chubby. I still remember it to this day. He confirmed my already known insecurities. I also have experienced life-giving words that were long-lasting. Affirmation will leave an enduring impact.
7) Words reveal your character.
Words come from a source. Words reveal what is inside of us or on our minds. So if you want to control your mouth, start by guarding the source. Jesus taught his followers that whatever is in your heart determines what you say. So build a good treasury of a good heart so that you will be a good person who produces good words (Matthew 12:34-35).
My observation is that hurt people hurt people. Healed people heal people. Words can cause pain, and words can also heal. Imagine if you use your words to bring healing and hope to other people. In doing so, we can build up others, create healthy homes, and leave a long-lasting impact on those around us.
“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.” James 1:26