How often does your mouth get you into trouble? Most of us do pretty well…outside the house…but how many struggle with keeping Christ-like with our immediate family?
James 1:19 says,
“Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath.”
What a practical scripture! But putting it into practice, in the heat of the moment? Yipes (as my six year old would say!)
I claim to be a pretty laid-back individual, but I’ve been known to lose it with my dear children. It’s usually when I’m running late and I think they’re not hopping fast enough. It’s the pits too, I hate raising my voice…would shudder and cringe if it was caught on videotape! (Who is that woman shrilling like a fishwife! Not me!?) But still I do it. And I apologize, a lot.
Further in the same passage, in James 1:26, we’re warned,
“If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is worthless.”
What is your “religion” behind closed doors? None of us want to emulate a “worthless” religion to our children. Breaking the habit on our own is impossible, but the good news is that though we are weak, He is strong.
So back to applying the James 1:19 verse to all our relationships…how we react to husbands/wives, sisters/brothers, parents and children…
“Be swift to hear.” Cultivate a sensitivity to God’s presence throughout the day. Put Him first, so you can hear Him speak to your heart. Be alert for the “hot spots” and immediately confess your weakness and ask for help!
“Slow to speak.” What headaches we’d save ourselves if we’d just keep our thoughts to ourselves and pray instead, amen? I’m already sinning when I’m impatient, chances are, anything that comes out of my mouth when I’m in that sinful state of mind is going to be hurtful to those around me. Why is it so much easier to keep the rein tight on our tongue when in the presence of church friends…to smile sweetly and come across as the best mommy in the universe? Hm. I’m trying to nip this sin in the bud when it surfaces in impatience, and a big way in doing so is determining to say nothing or say something appreciative. Such as: “Thank you, ‘daughter’, you’re such a good help when I’m running late!”
“Slow to anger.” Anger is right up there with the sin of adultery and murder, folks. And I don’t believe that one sin is worse than another, they just have different earthly consequences. This is really a biggie with most of us, whether we blame it on “German roots” or not. ;O) Make it a matter of prayer, “Lord, today, help me to be slow to anger. Remind me to be slow to anger.”
Whatever habit you have that is hurtful in the relationships around you, it can be broken with God’s help. Remember the same power that raised Christ from the dead is there for God’s people!
Break those bad habits by getting familiar with and listening for the voice of God.
“Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”