DO YOU KNOW what gets me into more trouble than anything else?
If you’re anything like me, once in awhile you experience a knee-jerk reaction of the mouth.
You know what I’m talking about. When you get a physical exam, the doctor tests your reflexes by tapping your knee to see if your leg jerks forward. You don’t have to think about it. Your leg just pops out there.
Well, I’ve discovered that my mouth works the same way.
Something strikes me odd, and my tongue just pops out.
I don’t have to think about it. The mouth is faster than the brain.
When our brain catches up, and we realize what a stupid thing we said, we have to decide what we’re going to do about it.
The Bible sums our problem this way, “People can tame all kinds of animals . . . but no one can tame the tongue” (James 3:7-8, NLT).
I can vouch for that. Just when I think I’m doing better, I say something hurtful again.
Once we’ve spoken, there are two ways to deal with it.
- Pretend we never said it.
- Accept the fact that once spoken, our words have come to life.
If you’ve said something hurtful to a friend, the words stand between the two of you like an invisible third person.
You can’t see that third person, but you sure can feel the presence.
There’s only one way to get rid of that intruder, and it’s with more words.
A Bible poet offers just the right ones, fit for many occasions: “I am deeply sorry for what I have done” (Psalm 38:18).
Those are hard words to say. But they’re powerful words once we’ve spoken them.
Here’s a prayer I’ve prayed:
“Lord, if I can’t train my tongue to behave perfectly, at least help me to slow it down a bit. And when it gets loose and causes trouble, give me the courage to apologize.”