"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14
This verse this morning goes right along with what I was rambling about the other day. What comes out of our mouths, and what we dwell on in our minds, reflects directly off what we are taking in. If we are taking in garbage, garbage comes out. If we are taking in the right things- joyful and uplifting things, joyful and uplifting things come out.
And what do we dwell on? Oh, the devil tries to trip me up with this one all the time! He'll drop just a little something in my mind that will make me angry, and I will dwell on it and it will swell up and fester and I get so mad!! It's actually almost scary, because after a while, I recognize it completely. I recognize the work of the enemy, and I pray and tell him to go away, and I thank God for peace and understanding, and just like that, the anger leaves. My meditation- my thoughts should be pleasing to God too- because, as we all know:
"The LORD knows the thoughts of man; " Psalm 94:11
When I say or think something about someone that is unpleasant or unkind- God totally knows it. Think about that for a minute. When you're driving, and someone cuts you off, or doesn't move over to let you on the highway, and you think to yourself or mutter something not-so-nice about them, God hears that. You could be the only one in the car, yet God knows all about it. I suspect it makes Him a little sad, because we are called to be like Jesus- and nowhere in the Bible do we see Jesus calling people bad names. Jesus was filled with love and compassion for every single person. And he didn't just love those who were close to him. Do you know that he loved the Pharisees and Sadducees? The very men that wanted Jesus dead? He didn't call them names or speak poorly of them- instead he challenged them to a new way of thinking, which they unfortunately rejected.
Our words speak life into other people. Think about it. When you're wearing something that you're not so sure you like and someone comes up to you and tells you that it looks great on you, doesn't that very garment bump up in your mind as a good one to wear? Conversely, if someone tells you they don't like something so well, it gets added to the Goodwill pile. And this is just talking about wardrobe- simple clothing made of cloth. Think of what your words can say about someones spirit. If you call someone an idiot every time you see them, over time, they are going to start believing your words. Oh! I have an example of this!
When I was learning to drive, my driver's ed teacher told me every week that I was a terrible driver. I left each week of driving practice practically in tears, because I thought he was telling me the truth about my driving skills. And then I would go driving with my parents, and those words from my instructor would ring in my head, and of course, I gave my mom many a gray hair with my terrible driving. The very last day of driving practice, the instructor actually looked me in the eyes and told me that I needed to wait a year to get my license. He told me I would be better off taking driver's ed again! I felt so deflated about driving. I also didn't feel so confident about scheduling my drivers test either, but I did. And when I was done with my test, the most amazing thing happened. The examiner looked at me and told me I did a great job- that she thought I was a good driver, and the one error I had with parking she totally blamed on the boxy van I was driving. She issued me my license, and just like that, this kind woman broke all those discouraging words from the instructor. I had my license and a whole new confidence in my driving skills.
When we say something kind to someone- you never know what you may be helping boost either. Think about that! When you look at someone and tell them they are beautiful, you may very well be helping break away years of self-esteem problems. And when you tell someone that you love them, you never know how many walls you may be breaking through with those powerful words.
So the question bears asking- how on earth do we stop ourselves from thinking those random bad thoughts or speaking harmful words? One step is to be careful of what we take in. But another step is to simply practice doing otherwise. When someone cuts you off on the highway, instead of thinking bad thoughts about them- pray for their safety while driving. When someone does something that just makes you mad, pray a blessing over them instead of cursing them. Or when someone is simply driving you batty, maybe you need to turn your prayers inward and pray for patience for yourself.
Being mindful of our thoughts and our words is one way to draw closer to God. The more we program ourselves to make our responses kind and wonderful- and pleasing to God, the more we will understand His nature and His goodness ourselves. And when you mess up- that's okay too. Ask for forgiveness and try again next time. Watching my words and my thoughts may be a tough challenge, but I pray that God will give me the patience and understanding to try and become more like His precious son Jesus.