I can't ever seem to keep my opinions to myself. In my mind, I truly believe that what I have to say is worth everyone's full attention. Even as a child, I felt that what I had to say was of the most importance. As I matured (and am still maturing), I'm finding that the more I speak, the less people listen. "Oh, there goes Jana once again, giving her opinions." I found myself drawn to people who also liked to talk. But that talk was not always the kind that I insist my children practice: words that lift others up (Ephesians 4:29). In more ways than one, my words (and the actions that came with those words) ended up hurting people. I came to see myself as having "foot-in-mouth" disease. I just could not keep my mouth shut!
Recently I was tempted with some circumstances where I wanted to give my opinion: a friend wanted to gossip about another friend, someone with opposing political views was being particularly annoying with posts on Facebook; someone claiming to be a Christian trashed public schools and the teachers, and the list could go on. I really, really wanted to put my own two cents in. But the Lord has plans for me to just not say anything. He pressed on my heart to keep my mouth shut. And this is a new thing for me. New ground. New territory. My whole life I didn't think twice about sharing my own opinions, but I was changing. I was maturing. The Lord was growing in me.
As I have mentioned before, when I feel God is trying to teach me a lesson, he handles me like I would one of my own students: introduce an idea, give a real life example, practice applying, and review. With this new lesson of learning how to control my tongue, God opened my eyes to the women in my life who do a great job avoiding the mama-drama, and I would hear loud and clear scripture that emphasizes the importance of controlling your words. I found myself recognizing and being drawn to women who would 1) not participate in the gossip that others desperately wanted to indulge in; 2) resist complaining about a fellow Christian; 3) walk away from someone who was trying to create more drama; and 4) always have a positive thing to say about something someone else was complaining about. Those women embrace the Proverbs 31 wife in speaking in wisdom and faithful instruction (Proverbs 31:26).
As for scripture coming in loud and clear, I love the main verse today, 1 Peter 3:1-2. This describes how a woman has the power to lead someone to Christ not with her words, but with her actions. When I heard this verse last week in church, the phrase "without anyone saying a word" seemed to echo over and over in my head. God loves it when we show his love with our actions. Too many people who call themselves Christian spew hatred. Their words actually show the condition of their hearts. Romans 14:19 says "So let's agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don't drag them down by finding fault" (The Message).
I challenge you today. If you are a Christian, don't participate in bad-mouthing others. We are to not be like the rest of the world. We are to be set apart, different. Sometimes Satan's best helpers are the ones who claim to be Christian, but their words and actions show them to be just like (or even worse, in many cases) those who claim they don't want to have anything to do with our Savior. Just keep your mouth shut and let your love for the Lord show through your actions. So many people come to a better understanding of Him when His people are loving and use words to lift others up. As I work on keeping my own mouth shut, I pray you, too, will be encouraged to represent the Lord in ways that are uplifting.
Here's a link to another post I did about talking too much. See? God's still working on me. :} Don't Babble On.