Now I've never been pregnant long enough to feel uncomfortable or awkward, as I'm sure pregnancy can get. However, it made me a little mad, for lack of a better word, that there are people (most likely jokingly) complaining about having a precious little one inside when there are people (like me) who want nothing more than 9 months of bloating, food aversions, nausea, swelling, weight gain and uncomfortable sleep if it meant I could carry a baby to term. Again, I know these people are posting more for humor's sake or just to say something clever, but it reminded me that words are powerful and we need to watch what we say, for we never know who we may inadvertently be hurting.
Since becoming more firm in my Christian walk, I've worked hard to curb my tongue with regards to swearing or blatantly nasty talk. Obscenities, profanity, cursing, dirty jokes, or making fun of others is not something that should ever be found in the mouth of a believer. “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4 NIV). I'm also reminded that "But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips" (Colossians 3:8).
Now I'm not saying that I'm perfect and NEVER utter a curse word, but it's something I make a daily conscious effort to try not to do. However, I find myself complaining about little things all the time with no idea of what I'm truly saying! It's also so easy for me to get caught up in "office gossip" and I don't even realize I'm participating in it until I've already uttered the words. Jesus warned that our words are so important that they will actually determine our condemnation or justification. He said we will be held responsible for all our words, even our careless, idle words. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).
In Ephesians, Paul cautioned believers to not allow any corrupt or worthless talk to come from their mouth. Only those things which lift-up, encourage, and are gracious should be expressed to others. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29).
To help remind me to do this, I have a little Post-It on my desk with this saying:
While this is a good exercise in trying to keep bad talk out of your mouth, even in saying things that are "okay" by the above categories I can be misusing my words. For example:
- I shouldn't complain about hunger and say "I'm starving" because I have NO idea what real hunger is and have never gone without a meal.
- I shouldn't complain about temperature and say "I'm freezing" because I've never had to sleep outside in the true cold elements.
- I shouldn't complain about the common cold and say "I don't feel good" because I have a relatively healthy body that has never been plagued with terminal cancer or any other life threatening illness.
- I shouldn't complain about my wardrobe and say "I have nothing to wear!" because I have a closet FULL of clothes that are not only functional but stylish.
- I shouldn't complain about my job and say "I had a long day at work" because I have a job in this tough economy.
- I shouldn't complain about the clutter and say "My house is a mess" because I have a roof over my head.
- I shouldn't complain about my husband and say "My husband didn't do xyz" because I am blessed to have a husband who loves and serves me.
Lastly I'll end with a quote from motivational great Zig Ziglar who says that, "What comes out of your mouth is determined by what goes into your mind." So I need to practice filling my mind with God's word and do what it says in Philippians 4:8:
If I put God's Word and promises into my mind, those same uplifting and encouraging words will come out of my mouth. Heavenly Father, help me to do such things!