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Abiding Monday: Mouths Closed, Ears Open!

by Dawn on September 14, 2009
category: Abiding Monday,Inspiration,Practical Tips

momcrowd_abidingmonday2_300x2151 My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Your anger can never make things right in God’s sight. James 1: 19-20

Those who control their tongue will have a long life; a quick retort can ruin everything. Proverbs 13:3

One of my unpleasant habits is that I am an interrupter.  Not all of the time, but sometimes.  I might be in the middle of an exciting conversation with a good friend, and we’re both mutually interrupting.  I think that’s just fine.  However, most of my interruptions occur when I’m arguing with my husband.  When all is right with the world, it is easy for me to patiently keep my mouth closed while others are talking.  But when tensions are running high and my patience is on vacation, my mouth always gets the best of me.  In addition, I tend to rattle off all kinds of sentences in quick succession when I am feeling nervous.

As moms, moms-to-be, wives, friends, children, and siblings, we can take away valuable lessons from both verses above.  First, speaking quickly can get us into trouble.  Both verses urge us to slow down in conversations – to look the other person in the eye, hear their voice, appreciate what they are trying to say.  Maybe even wait a few seconds before responding to a question.  It can be difficult to practice this type of deliberate thoughtfulness, but it yields great results!

Think of it this way: when we hear from someone via e-mail and need to reply, we don’t often send the first draft back immediately.  We delete, correct ourselves, omit things that might be misconstrued, etc.  We might even save the response in the Drafts folder and go back to it later, giving the words time to settle.  Do you ever wish your face-to-face conversations could have that feature?  Most of the time, our tongues are on autopilot.

Another thing I notice in these verses is that the consequences of a quick tongue are pretty dire!  “Can never make things right in God’s sight”:  ouch!  “Can ruin everything”: sucky!  The damage of a hurtful mouth can be severe, causing pain to exist between ourselves and others for who knows how long.  Of course, forgiveness and grace go a long way in repairing what has been broken.  But scripture tells us we can prevent the damage to begin with: “Those who control their tongue”.  This means our tongues do not control us!  We are not victims to what our mouths say.

I encourage you to ponder the control of your tongue this week.  Catch yourself when you go on autopilot and remind yourself to listen first.   I wonder what damage we will have prevented by taking control of our mouths!

Lord, forgive us for our quick retorts.  Replace our hurtful words with godly silence, and help us love others by listening more.  Amen.

Have a great week, Mom Crowd!

10 Responses to Abiding Monday: Mouths Closed, Ears Open!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Breanna
    September 14, 2009 @ 6:23 am

    What a great reminder! And the e-mail analogy was really eye opening to me.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Hayley
    September 14, 2009 @ 7:36 am

    I have found that if I look my daughter and husband in the eyes more often I get angry LESS often. Strange, but true. We get so caught up in daily tasks that sometimes I don’t REALLY look at them. In my daughter’s eyes I can see that she doesn’t mean to get on my nerves. I am reminded that she is just an innocent, sweet child. My husband’s eyes tell me that he would never intentionally hinder me or wrong me in any way. He is a man who doesn’t always know how to handle my feelings. That’s all. Thanks so much for the reminder. This was a good article. Thanks for the verses too.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Natalie
    September 14, 2009 @ 8:24 am

    What a great reminder! That email analogy was fantastic and so true. This is something that I know God has been speaking to me about. There are very few things that can’t be solved by a greater degree of humility. :)

  • Comment by Dawn
    September 14, 2009 @ 8:55 am

    You are so right, Natalie!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Allie
    September 14, 2009 @ 10:28 am

    Thanks for the gentle, and timely, reminder that we need to guard our tongues.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Terrah
    September 14, 2009 @ 5:04 pm

    I needed this today. Thank you. :)

  • Gravatar September 14, 2009 @ 10:59 pm

    [...] Dawn wrote a great post about controlling our tongues. Unbeknownst to Dawn I have had in my drafts a little post about One-Upping in conversation. I [...]

  • Comment by Amanda
    September 14, 2009 @ 11:02 pm

    My husband and I learned a communication skill in pre-marriage counseling. We use “What I am hearing you say is….” This makes us repeat back what the other said and gives them a chance to correct the interpretation. its corny, but it works. :) This all great stuff, Dawn. Good job!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Christina
    September 15, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

    Sometimes if you just wait and listen you realize they just want to be heard. Alot of us work out our issues by talking them out.

  • Gravatar September 21, 2009 @ 1:24 am

    [...] how did everyone do with the mouths closed, ears open challenge from last week?  I was constantly being given the opportunity to practice what I wrote, and let [...]

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