I can be way too outspoken and impulsive with my words. Before I know it, I can tear down the people I love most in life with deadly speech.
This is a sin struggle I'm well aware of. God has taught me many lessons about being slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to love by speaking words of hope & grace.
I go through times where I walk in the Spirit and have my mind (and mouth) set on what the Spirit desires. Yet, I'll also go through times where I gratify the desires of my sinful nature and this struggle is GREAT.
This past week the struggle was great. There were too many circumstances where I gratified the desires of my sinful nature and did NOT control my tongue.
With my speech I was rude to my husband, speaking words that dishonored him as a husband and father.
With my speech I was self-seeking, tearing my children down in order to lift myself up.
With my speech I was easily angered, spouting out deadly words in the name of frustration when my children did not act as I expected and my patience ran dry.
With my speech I kept records of wrongs, maliciously reminding both my husband and children of their mistakes and grievances against me.
It sounds ugly because it was ugly.
My words brought tears, induced fear in their eyes, and TORE THEM DOWN.
To those that I love the most in this life, my words were anything but. For love,
"It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." 1 Corinthians 13:5
I am well aware of the Scripture in James 3 about taming the tongue. It warns that "with the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men...this should not be."
Every day I write words on this blog that praise our Lord, yet some days I also then "curse" my family with words I wouldn't think of saying to friends, let alone strangers.
Why is this?
After years of this struggle, I know exactly why.
My sinful nature gets the best of me.
And I hate it.
The following verses describe exactly how I feel about this:
"I do not understand what I do.
For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do....I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do---this I keep on doing.
Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
What a wretched man I am!
Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
Romans 7:15, 17-25
Can you relate?
Do you have a sin struggle that you hate?
Do you do that which you do NOT want to do?
Do you desire to do what is good but struggle to carry it out?
Do you need rescued from "death?"
Paul understood this struggle. He was a sinner just like us. Yet he was rescued by Jesus!
So as I laid in bed last night confessing my sin, I read those words and pleaded with Jesus to rescue me (yet again) from this sin struggle with words.
I then read the following verses and they brought healing and hope to my grieving heart:
"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen"
1 Timothy 1:15-17
Jesus is surely showing His unlimited patience in me as an example to those who believe on Him and receive eternal life.
If I, a wretched sinner whose words sometimes have the smell of death in them, can be shown mercy and unlimited patience then so can you and everyone else struggling with sin.
Including our children.
Jesus longs to show them mercy.
He has unlimited patience for their sin struggle.
He wants to rescue them from "death."
He wants to empower them with His Holy Spirit so that when evil is right there with them, even when they want to do good, they can overcome evil with good.
Join me today and let's pray for our children's sin struggle:
You ARE the King eternal. You are immortal, invisible, THE only God. All glory and honor is due You. You show great mercy and display unlimited patience with even the worst of sinners. Thank you Jesus that you rescue us from that sin that so easily entangles and trips us up over and over again; that sin that we hate; that sin that we DO NOT want to do.
Lord, I pray You would teach our children about Your mercy and patience as they struggle with sin. I pray their hearts would be tender toward You; I pray they would hate their sin. I pray they would desire to do good. And I pray that this desire would increase in them a desire to be rescued by You. I pray that in the midst of their sin struggle they would run to You for mercy and for help. I pray they would be transformed by your love and unlimited patience; that they would be moved to obedience because of them.
And finally if and when they find their hearts grieving like mine because of sin, may they look to Your Spirit for the strength and wisdom to confess, repent, and turn from their wicked ways. And may they give You all the glory and honor as sin loses its deadly grip on their hearts and minds!