is what comes out of my mouth.
For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongues is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. James 3:5-12
I knew this chapter was coming. And I expected that I would need to take some notes, to work on some things. I was right. This is an area where the phrase “training like an athlete” takes on significance for me.
Martha Peace offers nine biblical principles regarding a wife’s communication to her husband:
1. A wife’s wrong words begin with wrong thoughts and motives.
2. A wife is accountable to God for every word she speaks.
3. A wife is to speak the truth to her husband, but speak it in love.
4. A wife must “put off” any wrong speech.
5. A wife must give her husband the benefit of the doubt when it comes to judging his motives.
6. A wife is more likely to sin if her words are rash.
7. A wife is more likely to be heard if her speech is forbearing and sweet.
8. An excellent wife is wise and kind when she talks to her husband.
9. A wife should purify her speech until it is more and more flawless.
Peace also offers several suggestions for putting her principles into action. I have attempted to compile all of the practical suggestions she gives for how we can work with God in the transformation of our minds and tongues.
1. Pinpoint wrong thoughts and thought patterns by asking God to help you discern them.
2. Search for scriptures that speak to the areas where you need to improve, perhaps by using a concordance.
3. Meditate on those scriptures daily by reading them and thinking of ways you can apply them.
4. Think through various scenarios and situations in which you will need to remember the verse or verses. Then rehearse your response. This will train your mind and tongue to respond in a way that honors God, especially when your feelings do not cooperate.
5. Be prepared to seek forgiveness when you say something you shouldn’t, or when you speak in anger.
Remember, His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:3-8).
Jesus provides the grace and strength to do all that He commands us to do. I firmly believe that if we’re authentic Christians, then our faith is going to be lived out, first and foremost, in our homes. At the same time, however, we should not be so nearsighted as to think that becoming an excellent wife is just about submitting and speaking kindly to our husbands. It’s about Jesus.
Having said that, I understand that it’s much easier said than done. Last Friday, as we were preparing to go to our family’s July 4th festivities, we were both yelling at each other about who needed to do what so that we could get there on time, and whose fault it was going to be if we were late. The whole time we were fussing, my mind was telling me how to respond in a godly way, but the sleeping dragon that is my temper had been provoked. So, even the right things coming from my mouth were swallowed up by my fiery tongue. It only lasted about ten minutes, but a lot of damage can be done in a short amount of time with an out-of-control tongue. Karl, always quick to apologize, put the dragon back to sleep.
But I learned that I need to be diligent to train my mind to control my tongue.
I am looking forward to reading your posts!! As always, you can come back here to link to other wives’ thoughts on this chapter.
Keep reading! Click for Chapter 17.