Do you have a mouth that is out of control? What did you say recently that you regretted as soon as you said it? Are you concerned that you need help? How willing are you to submit your tongue to the Lord on a daily basis?
Imagine a friendship, family, work place, school, neighborhood, city, state, country, or continent that was famous for banned words. None of us really believe the children’s rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” because we have first hand knowledge of the damage of words. So to be proactive in today’s increasingly intolerant society, let us agree on key words to be eliminated, or at least reduced, in their usage.
For example, is 9-11 too casual a phrase to describe the terrorist attacks and deaths of 3,000 people? No one seems to call the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 12-7. Or how about the following three words:
No-brainer (who doesn’t have a brain?)
Brainstorm (how is it different from merely thinking?)
Car jacking (didn’t this used to be armed robbery?)
I read through the books of Psalms and Proverbs over a thirty-day period, and took some notes on words that might be banned. Note: There are 150 Psalms and 31 chapters of Proverbs. Consider doing what I did by reading five Psalms and one chapter of Proverbs together a day for a month. It is an incredibly rich opportunity to get to know God better. Try reading the chapters out loud, too (maybe sing some of the Psalms by making up your own melody).
If I were to suggest words (and actions) to ban, here are five to consider along with a reason.
Show contempt? Psalm 17:10 says, “A mouth that speaks with arrogance…” is not good.
Demonstrate dishonesty? Psalm 34:13 says, “Keep…your lips from speaking lies.”
Hurt feelings? Proverbs 12:18 says, “Reckless words pierce like the sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Make others angry? Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Spread rumors? Proverbs 20:19 says, “A gossip betrays a confidence…”
My mom told me a long time ago that our words are a window to our heart. Jesus agreed with my mom when he said, “The good man/woman brings good things out of the good stored up in his/her heart, and the evil man/woman brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his/her heart. For out of the overflow of their heart their mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)
Read Proverbs 10:8-14.Then write it on your mirror with shaving cream or lipstick as a reminder this week. King David wanted to treat those close to him with kindness, so he prayed for God’s help, “I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.”
Who wants to be healed rather that hurt? Who is willing to give up the sort of words and actions than tend to hurt rather than heal? Who is really concerned with treating their friends and family with love? Live communally. Use no words that hurt. And that includes sticks and stones.
Love is a verb,