when there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,when i looked up the key words in the hebrew the first part basically translates: when there is an abundance of speaking, sin does not cease or does not stop. yikes. i can bear testimony to the truth of that statement in my own life. i have personally experienced the inner fight of trying to keep myself from saying something, usually a complaint i have about another person, and many times losing the battle. i think, well i am sure if i tell just one person it really isn't that bad. how many times have i sinned against people with the words of my mouth in the name of venting?
but he who restrains his lips is wise.
but everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. james 1:19-20i would love to say that i had this one down, but if you have read my previous post quick to listen you will know that although it is something i am working towards obtaining, i have not reached it yet. an interesting thought i had was that many times when we vent about how someone has done something wrong to us, which we may or may not have deserved, we are trying to prove ourselves as the righteous victim. but our words that come out of anger, whether we are in touch enough with the inner workings of our hearts to recognize it as such, do not achieve the righteousness of God. basically, my quick reaction to defend myself against another's injustice against me keeps me from encountering the Lord's defense of me and obtaining true righteousness.
deciding to not speak, to not vent, or to not slander with our mouths is not an easy task. i think anyone who tries to claim that they have easily mastered this is a liar. james, who by the way was the brother of Jesus, says that the tongue is so difficult to control that if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. (james 3:2) he goes on to explain that the tongue is the number one thing that causes us to sin and if we can learn to control the words that come out of it, we have learned what it is to control all the other ways we fall into sin and distance ourselves from God.
here is a challenge: let's try to purposefully talk less during the day, chose to not say a word in our defense when accused or mistreated to the person or to anyone else, and feel the pain inside. it is amazing how everything within screams, "just say something!!!" when i have consciously tried this myself. but if i turn my heart towards the Lord in the midst of the pain it causes my soul, i will see so much good fruit even at the beginning of this journey when it feels like my struggle and stumbling is much more than my victory. then let's take all that pain of feeling the sting of injustice and misunderstanding inside and pour it all out onto the Lord in the secret place of prayer. (see my previous post rend my heart) when we lay aside the comfort from man we open ourselves up to be comforted by the Lord in such a deep way, and He really does want to hear the things burning on our heart and troubling our soul.
blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. matthew 5:4He is jealous for us to give our broken immature hearts to Him so that He can give us back so much love and comfort in return. i think of it as a type of fasting - a fasting of words. in the words of mike bickle, i want to stop "making myself look like the hero or the victim in my stories." in this journey of knowing and growing in love with Jesus, it will be so difficult but so worth it!