Out of the mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
- James 3:10
With a good knife, we cut meat and salad items in preparation to cook, we whittle wood, dig out splinters, sharpen pencils, and eat at the table or bbq's.
In the bush, we trim fingernails, skin rabbits and slice onions.
Under the car bonnet, we use knives as screwdrivers and technical tools for trimming insulation. They are instrumental in the hands of the right people.
Give them to the wrong person, and they are used for wounding, killing, threatening, robbing, maiming and molesting people.
A mouth is similar, in that we can use it to heal, sell, joke, laugh, empathise, sympathise, communicate, sing, read aloud, represent someone, preach, debate, pray, and praise.
Then again, we can use it to threaten, abuse, swear, destroy reputations, backbite, yell, and destroy people's self-respect.
However, with the mouth, unlike the knife, we don't have to hand it over to the wrong person, as both right and wrong actions can come from the same mouth. We are both the healers and the destroyers.
On the wrong day, a mouth to a tender heart cuts as swiftly and deeply as a knife. It can damage someone for a short time or for life. Then the next day, we can offer well-wishings to friends as if nothing happened yesterday. Yet, we've left someone in the gutter, destroyed.
My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
James is crying out with his mouth for us to arrest ours, and control it for God's purpose.
When we slice and cut with it, we are self-gratifying. When we use it for good, we are God-gratifying.
Do you think it's odd that we can have the healer and destroyer in the same body, both getting time to say their piece?
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Our job is to keep working on our heart to eliminate the destroyer. We do that using discretion — the quality that gives us time to think before we speak, and then say less.
Surely you agree that we don't need to say a lot of stuff that comes from our mouth?
Yet, we let the rubbish slip out — the cynicism, the sharp retorts, the quick one-liners that hurt, and the knife-edge bitterness. All this could well be put in the rubbish bin with the rest of our verbal waste.
There is a saying that the world is a stage. However, many of our lines on that stage need not be said. We don't always need to put people in their place, nor fire the odd, angry shots, nor verbally stab people who may have hurt us.
Our mouth can be such a healing mechanism and is our most useful and used tool. If we keep minimising the outflowing of our bitter waters, we will eventually drain that well and produce only water from the well that repairs, restores and regenerates, satisfying ourselves and God in the process.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for my mouth, and the good things that come from it. Please help me to drain and fill in the bitter well, so the only words that come from my mouth are words that you are satisfied with, being sifted before I speak.