Verbal Vomit

There are times, even with the best intentions, that our word just come out wrong. Heated or selfish, careless or critical, they erupt in a heap of verbal vomit. It is always a humbling experience.

But how can I do better? Scripture has much to say.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Or conversely, good in, good out!

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. ~ Colossians 3:15

Often the biggest problem with our words is our hearts! We simply are not letting Christ rule. Instead, our hurts or worries or selfishness reign supreme.

I treasure your word in my heart,
    so that I may not sin against you. ~ Psalm 119:11

Yet when we treasure God’s words, we will find that we have better things to speak!

Speak less, listen more

When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
    but the prudent are restrained in speech. ~ Proverbs 10:19

It’s a simple (but embarrassing) rule – when I speak less, I will sin less! When I speak more, well… you know! James in his blunt fashion puts it like this:

You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger;for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. ~ James 1:19-20

Think About it First

The mind of the righteous ponders how to answer,
    but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil. ~ Proverbs 15:28

Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of pausing before responding!

Be intentional

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. ~ Ephesians 4:29

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. ~ Colossians 4:6

When we consider the other person, her needs, and how to build, we will find that our words begin to look more like Christ’s!

Sometimes, it’s helpful even to think about what I should have said (and didn’t), so that the next time, I will be ready with a better response.

Beloved, our tongue is a powerful tool, for good or evil. Will we use it to build? Or destroy?

Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
    and those who love it will eat its fruits. ~ Proverbs 18:21

Photo by shahab yazdi on Unsplash

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