How do you know if you’re more than a noise maker? Sometimes you don’t until you’re tested. And boy, was I tested last week. It’s in the testing we realize the power of our words … for good or evil.
I love Wednesdays during the school year. My two high schoolers have late start and my youngest has early release. Because of this, we’ve managed to turn Wednesdays into breakfast and lunch dates.
Last week, I picked up my youngest and we headed to lunch. He talked about soccer, how much homework he had and how happy he was that school was out for the day.
And then he asked for a refill.
The Cardinal Rule
Let me give you a quick backstory on why this part is important. You see, about eighteen moths ago, my husband bought me a new car. And my cardinal rule was that my boys would not eat or drink in my new car.
But over time, for the sake of convenience (moms with kids, you know what I’m talking about here), I began to bend the rule.
It started off with water. “O’kay, you can have water, but that’s it!”
Then it became water and eating with a towel over their lap, “As long as the towel is over your legs and you eat directly over the towel, you can eat in the car.”
And little by little wrappers started to pile up. Mountains of socks filled the floorboard of my beautiful new car. I would see crumbs and my face started to heat up and my heart rate increased.
But today … date day … we were too far gone. There was no water. The days of covering their legs with towels were in the rearview mirror and so far behind us we couldn’t go back.
No Use Crying Over Spilled Soda
And so he refilled his drink with sticky soda and walked happily to my car.
As he got in, he reached over to grab my phone and I closed my door. I pushed the ignition button to start the car and before the roar of the engine reached my ears, the sound of ice and soda sloshing all over the front seat hit me first.
Brody was soaked, the seat was soaked, and the soda just kept pooling up and dripping onto the floorboard.
I didn’t know what to do. We obviously had no towels in the car!!
I could feel my anger burning within me. I wanted to scream and yell and say things like, “You know the rules! Why didn’t you hold onto your drink? You’re such a klutz!”
But I didn’t. I leaned my head back and took a few deep breaths. Brody took his shirt off and started mopping up the mess and I found a sweatshirt in the trunk.
I was so angry I knew if I opened my mouth, nothing good would come out of it. “Mama can’t talk right now. I just need to drive home and we’ll figure the rest out later.”
We sat in silence all the way home, but I called out to God. I knew my anger was too much for spilled soda. Sure, it was frustrating. But Brody’s feelings meant more to me and I didn’t want to say a bunch of things that would hurt him, or berate him because he had an accident.
So, I prayed and kept my mouth shut. Brody cleaned the mess and there is not one stitch of evidence of that soda remaining in my car.
Here’s what we need to understand about our words: they hold power. But do you know why? People who use words to tear others down do it because they feel powerful. They know their words will chip away the other persons self confidence.
And this is where emotion is deceiving. We feel we are justified in yelling, saying mean things or tearing the other person down because of our emotion. That’s why I knew I had to stop talking. My anger was too high and I DID NOT want to say anything to hurt my child.
Proverbs 14:1 says, “A wise woman builds her house, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.”
Have there been times you’ve been both foolish and wise? I have. I’ve said things I didn’t mean (in Reflections of Eve, you’ll hear all about some things I said to my husband I wish I could take back).
One distinguisher between the fool and the wise are the words we speak. If the words we speak build those up in our home, we are wise. But if they tear down, we are acting foolishly.
I’m going to share a few tips to help you stay on the side of wisdom in your words.
3 Tips to Implement In Wise Speaking
Don’t let your mouth get ahead of your thoughts.
There is nothing more dangerous in our speech than word vomit. That means we are spewing out words and have lost the awareness of the power our words have on the listener.
James 1:19 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
Quick to listen? Listen to whom? The Spirit inside you. And sometimes your own conscience. We cannot be led by our emotions. I knew my attitude wasn’t in the right place to correct Brody in that moment and handle the situation. An awareness my emotions were too strong was evident, and I allowed myself to calm down.
I also knew my anger wasn’t necessary. I was too frustrated over an accident. Words were not wise in that moment.
Set a Standard For Your Words
If the thoughts we think do not build the other person up, we shouldn’t speak them. Now, let’s not confuse correction with words that tear down. Correction builds up as long as it’s done in love and with the intentions of sharpening the other person.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Our words should benefit the listener. I needed my car cleaned out, but Brody needed understanding when he made a mistake. To be a wise woman who builds up, I must remember my words are to benefit those who hear them; not to get what I want or to give satisfaction to an emotion clouding my judgment at the moment.
Love Should Lead the Conversation
1 Corinthians 13 is the LOVE chapter. I used to think it only pertained to people getting married because that’s when I often heard it the most. But it pertains to any kind of love in our relationships.
1 Corinthians 13:1 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.” Basically, if our words are not driven by love, we are mere noise makers. And I don’t know about you, but I want to be more than a noise maker. I want to build up others.
I want to challenge you today to put these tips into practice. Think before you speak and don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment. Regret is an emotion you don’t want to experience for the words you can never take back.
Our words have a birth place … our hearts. And our speech will never change without the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. The words of love and unselfishness will be the fruit (evidence) of God at work in us.
So my friend, remember that to someone else, your words hold so much power. What will you do with that kind of power and will you be known as a wise woman who builds her house? I believe in you!
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