“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45
Cozied up under my covers with my head nuzzled into my pillow, I began to think, and the thoughts rolled silently on my tongue…
I was swearing, and there was bitterness, and jealousy. Even though these words were whispers to myself, they were there. And I thought instantly, this is the overflow of my heart. I can’t tame my tongue because this is a heart issue…my ugly is coming straight from inside my soul.
“but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8
So instead of praying, “Lord, help me tame my tongue.” I’m praying, “Lord, give me a pure heart.” Because if my heart is cleaned out and I submit to the work of the Holy Spirit, than the overflow will be good words, uplifting words, blessings instead of curses.
As I was pondering my heart, I thought about why it is so important to focus on our children’s hearts instead of trying to tame their tongues. I will often hear something they say, or the way they say something, and it’s filled with an edge. I say, “We are not going to talk like that, it is not okay.” And I’m trying to tame the tongue, but really, I need to pull my child aside and ask, “What’s going on? Can we talk about these words and what is maybe behind them?” It might sound like I’m overdoing it, but I see past the attitude and I see stress, or tension, or built up resentment – in children! Underneath the biting words are feelings of disrespect, being wronged, not being listened to, etc. When I take the time to gently prod the heart, I find the root of the overflow. If I can help my children untangle the roots, then their words will change because their hearts will mend. And we must do this over and over and over again, because sin is always lurking; the flesh is always ready to try and dominate the spirit.
When left to myself, I follow my sin nature. When my children are left to themselves, they follow their sin natures. When I am not reading God’s Word, when I let myself go, when I don’t discipline myself to think on good and lovely things, I become Hitler. What of my children? What could they become without the sorting out in their hearts? I’ve got to dig in, and Lord you do the digging and sorting and molding.
Lord tame our hearts because we can’t tame our tongues. We need you.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10