A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:1-4 (NIV)
I have spoken words that I deeply regret. No, I have not spoken soft and gentle words that have turned away wrath. Instead, I have fought fire with fire. How so? I have returned harsh words spoken against me with probably even harsher words of my own. How has that worked out for you? Not, well. My own harsh words have stirred up even more anger. What would you have rather done? I would have rather spoken soft and kind and gentle words. I would have rather spoken life-giving words that bring healing. In the heat of battle, in the middle of an argument, those words do not seem to be within me. That’s not good. No, it’s not.
What do you think you need? First, I need your forgiveness. You are forgiven. Then I need lots of your help. I think you need to change my heart and mind so that your words will come out of my mouth. I need you to store up in me, a reservoir of soft and gentle and kind, life-giving words, that spill out of me not just in the heat of battle in the middle of an argument, but at all times. Is that a prayer request of yours? That is definitely a prayer request of mine. That’s good.
How do you think I will change your heart and mind? How do you think I will store up in you a reservoir of soft and gentle and kind, life giving words that will spill out of you? First, I have a lot of thoughts that need to be kicked out of my heart and mind. My thoughts need to be replaced by your thoughts. My words need to be replaced with your words. How will you come to know my thoughts? How will you come to speak my words? I can only know and speak your thoughts by coming to know you. That’s true. How will you come to know me? I will draw near to you. I will meet with you in your word. I will listen to everything you have to say to me. I will take your word deep into my heart and mind and life. I will allow your word to dwell in me richly. Your word will change my heart and transform my mind. Yes, it will. As I keep drawing near to you, you will help me to begin to think your thoughts and speak your words. My old thoughts will be replaced with your thoughts. My old words will be replaced with your words. Yes, they will. Keep on drawing near to me. Keep on meeting with me in my word. Then you will have what you have asked of me. That is what I will do. That will be very good.
Lord, I have not been careful with my words. I have too quickly spoken what was on my mind. I have spoken foolish words that stirred up anger. I have spoken harsh words that crushed the spirit. Forgive me. Help me to speak life-giving words that bring healing. Amen
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