When you think of pious people, one of their defining characteristics is the reverence with which they choose their words. They bite their tongue when they are angry. They mind their words. They think seriously about their word choices because any and every word they utter is a representation of their religion and a reflection on the seriousness of their religious beliefs.
If you were to judge my love of Christ by the words I choose to use on a daily basis, I am ashamed to admit that I probably look like a pretty reckless Christian. While I try to mind my words, every now and then (which is more often than I care to admit) I let my anger or frustration get the best of me and I find myself uttering some less than gracious words. It’s one of those bad habits that I have found really hard to break. It’s not something that I do because I really enjoy letting my words fly (if you know what I mean)–really it’s just a lazy habit.
So as I was reading my daily devotional yesterday, I had one of those moments where I felt that the scripture was really speaking directly to me. Like that annoying little poke on your shoulder.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh and salt water flow from the same spring? James 3: 9-11
I guess you can say I was feeling a little convicted.
The same mouth that utters the holy words of communion is also the exact same one that says cutting words to hurt others. That kind of juxtaposition simply can’t be if I want to portray myself as a serious follower of Christ.
While it’s going to be a hard habit to break, it’s time that I start thinking about my word choice more seriously. You never know whose listening and judging you and your fellow brothers and sisters by the words that you utter out of your mouth, whether consciously or unconsciously. I’m choosing to think more consciously of my own.