A visit from my sister usually convicts me about how flippant and sarcastic I can still be with someone who *has to* love me despite my ugliness. I don’t know why, but this particular sister always gets the worst of my words (I think Ryan must come in second place for my carelessness). She’ll be telling a story and I’ll interject something terrible that mocks, ridicules, demeans, whatever. She usually looks at me in shock (even though I’ve done it enough times to pacify the shock-effect), and asks, “Why did you just say that?” Her faithful responses and the Holy Spirit always convict me, but I stubbornly indulge in my ugly humor. I hate this pattern. And I’m so ready to live in freedom from this sin (that’s why I’m “going public” with it).
After she left, I sat down to read through the “Communication” chapter in The Excellent Wife and was struck to the core with Scriptures about how wise it is to purify my speech, beginning with a close examination of my heart and ending with a deliberate training of the words I speak (or don’t speak, in most cases!) These Scriptures were most instructive…
And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. Matthew 12: 36-37
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.Â Proverbs 15:28
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.Â Proverbs 15:4.
I learned that every sarcastic and careless word that I speak reveals a part of my heart that I’ve not yet surrendered to Jesus Christ: a “breach” in my spirit that needs God’s healing. When I examined why I spoke what I thought was funny but knew was hurtful (my friend calls these things “death-humor”), I realized that I’ve never confessed and sought transformation of the “death-humor” that I’ve entertained in movies, TV shows, comedic shows, and conversations. For example, I remember thinking that Adam Sandler’s “Goat-boy” skits (a college-kid favorite) were hilarious, but in listening to them, I wasn’t guarding my heart; instead, I was feeding my love for sarcasm and unknowingly preparing myself for the mean quips that I throw at people who I really do love. So, this is where I began my confession.
I’ve agreed to the process of putting aside anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from my mouth (Col. 3:8), through confessing, meditating on relevant Scripture, and actually practicing kind words… And being grateful when people who love me ask, “Why’d you just say that?” One day, may I be one of those women who has so surrendered her words to Jesus Christ that everything she speaks is a precious gift…
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26
The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver… Proverbs 10: 20