Words, have the power to tear down or build up. They have the power to praise God or to curse God. Words are used to give thanks or to complain.
How then we use our words is vastly important. The old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” though catchy is untrue. Words have the power to spur others on to good deed but likewise have the power to cripple and hurt others. King David prayed that the Lord would, “set a guard over his mouth,” because he knew his words could do either harm or good. Peter was known for sticking his foot in his mouth because often he failed to think before he spoke.
In our home, unfortunately, there are many days our use of words is not good. Often arguing over trivial things, complaining over difficulties or about what we don’t like and even at times using words to hurt one another. James tells us in 1:19, that “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” How many problems would be solved if we just applied this principle!
Growing up I often heard others say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Interestingly, I now find myself saying the same thing to my children. But, I have added a second one, “If you can’t speak without grumbling and complaining, don’t speak!”
We are told by James in chapter three, that “the tongue is set on fire by hell itself. That with it we bless God and curse others made in His image (3:6-9).” He makes it clear that this should not be! I love how James ends his letter in chapter five. Basically summing up what we should say depending upon our circumstances. He says, “Is anyone of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? He should sing songs of praise (5:13).” Therefore, when times are hard, instead of grumbling, we should pray. When times are good, we should sing His praises. Knowing that they are only good by His grace.
So how then do we instill this attitude of gratitude into our own lives and the lives of our children?
1. We must pray, pray for ourselves and our kids for a desire to please the Lord with our words.
2. We must set the example. Choosing to remain quiet instead of complaining. Choosing to give thanks for all that the Lord has done.
3. We must resist the devil and the urge to give into the negative pull. Don’t get sucked into the attitude of others.
4. Refuse to argue and learn to walk away.
5. Think long and hard before you speak, measuring the best use of your words.
6. Depend fully upon the Lord for He alone can tame the tongue