If You Can’t Say Somethin’ Nice . . .

>Sometimes I wish God would just make me mute whenever I’m about to say something I shouldn’t. I’d open my mouth to say the inappropriate thing that my brain convinces my mouth needs to be said and . . .


That would be heavenly!

Or maybe, just as my mouth is beginning to form the ugliness that reveals I have an ugly, unloving, judgmental heart, my lips refuse to move and instead of the diarrhea that normally flows so freely, I just make humming-like sounds.

Or, maybe, even, God would deafen the ears of the hearer of my un-niceness so that even if my mouth is moving and my voice is cooperating in the endeavor, the hearer sees something is happening, but the words get lost in the space between us. Kind of like a badly dubbed foreign film but better.

But no, it doesn’t work that way. Instead, I say dumb, ugly, unloving things. I whine, complain, belittle, and annoy. God leaves the self-censoring to me, and I’m not very good at it. I fail time and time again to remain silent when I know it’s what I should do. The dam bursts open, and I can feel the idiocy flowing right out of me, but I’m unable to hold it in.

Verbal diarrhea again. Messy. Unpleasant. Awkward. Ugh!

But unlike a literal mess where I can grab the Bounty and faster than you can say thicker, quicker, picker-upper it’s gone, I can never truly clean up after my wretched verbal spillage. Sure, I can say sorry, and try to negate it all with humble counter-points and overcompensation, but it’s never really gone. Words don’t just leave messes, they leave stains.

Every single thing I say imprints itself on another, for good or bad, and I’m responsible for putting it there. If my conversation leaves someone feeling a little less “full”, then that person’s view of me becomes emptier as well. And I can’t be sure that everyone I talk to is going to be an extremely merciful, understanding human that won’t hold my thoughts and words against me.

If I can’t say something nice, then I shouldn’t say anything at all. I’ve tried that one, and it doesn’t do a lot of good. So, instead, I’m going to start where I can. If I can’t say something nice, I’m going to be more careful. I’m going to begin asking God to help me with my words, until I no longer say the things I shouldn’t, whatever those things may be.

“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”
James 1:26

“The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of life on fire . . . If anyone is never at fault in what [she] says, she is a perfect [woman], able to keep [her] whole body in check.”
James 3:6, 2

“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”
Matthew 12:33, 36

“The tongue has the power of life and death.”
Proverbs 18:21

“The Spirit helps us in our weakness.”
Romans 8:26

Lord, help me to speak sweetly and to cherish silence when I can’t. Amen.


2 Responses to “If You Can’t Say Somethin’ Nice . . .”
  1. Judy says:

    Holy smokes… this was good… I kept thinking of someone else, then I would pull it back to me. It has been a real good lesson for me to keep my mouth shut at times… nice to know God is there to help!

  2. Kristin says:

    Nobody's perfect. We all have those moments we say unkind things. I think the important part is recognizing our mistake!

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