“I can’t believe I said that, I never meant to hurt her.”
“I never would have told him that if I would have known he would respond like that.”
“What can I do now? I can’t take the words back.”
The book of James tell us that our tongues are untamable. The tongue is beyond our control. Our words can be so hurtful and can damage whether they are intentional or unintentional. We say things that never should be said. But, no matter how hard we try, words of frustration, anger, and resentment seem to blurt out.
James 3:8 says, “But no human can tame the tongue, it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
Our only hope is to yield our tongues to the Spirit’s power. It is only as we yield our tongues that we can be empowered to speak words of peace and healing to those we love and to those we come in contact with. We need to allow God to control what we cannot control.
Romans 6:13 tells us “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument to righteousness.”
How many times during the day does frustration get the best of you? How often does someone make you angry? Maybe it is the driver who pulls out in front of you. Or maybe it is your teenage son who doesn’t show you any respect. All too quickly and easily we speak unkindly, become rude, or exclaim words filled with hateful anger. Our tempers flare and get the best of us. The pressure builds until we explode unexpectedly over a trivial matter. Our words come from our tongues like fire and burn those around us.
Fire safety is a very important part of the curriculum in the elementary schools. Many children are afraid of the firemen in their uniform and mask. Children will often hide when a fireman comes in the home to rescue them. During fire safety week, we would have a fire fighter visit the school to show all of their gear and talk with the children to help them become acquainted.
The firefighter would always talk to the children about what to do if fire would get on their clothes. He would teach them “Stop, Drop, and Roll,” explaining to them that doing this would help keep the fire from spreading. There would be a time for volunteers to come up and demonstrate how to do this. Then, later, in the classroom we would have the children practice “Stop, Drop, and Roll” so everyone would have a turn.
When our tongues catch on fire with angry words, we too can practice Stop, Drop, and Roll.
1. STOP– Stop and put your finger over your mouth, hold your lips closed to keep the fire from spreading.
2. DROP– Drop the word(s), tell yourself, “I am not going to say that. It is (hurtful, cruel, mean… fill in the blank)”.
3. ROLL– Roll the intolerance and frustration over to God, give it to Him. Yield to His way of peace and ask Him to deal with the situation according to His perfect wisdom.
Try it, practice Stop, Drop, and Roll next time a fiery word starts to burst from your mouth. Begin today to pray that the Lord will help you to honor Him with your words. Use Psalm 19:14 as your prayer.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
Tell the Lord that you desire to yield your tongue to Him. He will answer a prayer like that because it is His will.
Ephesians 4:29 ESV “Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Words of grace, words of peace, words of love, words of compassion, and words of honor are what should come from our lips.
Lord, we yield to You. We are not able to control our tongues. Empower us to use our tongues for Your glory. Help us Lord we pray. Amen.
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