When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. Proverbs 10:19
I have to be honest. This used to be my LEAST FAVORITE verse in the Bible!
I was always a big-time talker from the time I was little. Since I was an identical twin, and she was “the quiet one,” I was always talking and telling my sister every single thought that ever entered my head every waking moment as we grew up.
I used to look at that verse and think, “That can’t really be true! What’s wrong with talking a lot? I’M sure not sinning with all MY talking!”
Then God convicted me of my MOUNTAIN of sin in December 2008.
Suddenly, I realized that almost every word out of my mouth had been one kind of sin or another for most of my life.
I was afraid to talk to anyone for a long time. I didn’t want all that sin to come out. So, first I went really quiet. That is often the first step of this journey – the Quiet Phase.
THE SIN THAT CAME OUT OF MY MOUTH:
- PRIDE- thinking I always knew best
- complaining – about anything that wasn’t perfect in my eyes (Philippians 2:14-16a – God commands us not to complain)
- arguing – because I was clearly “always right” (Philippians 2:14-16a – God commands us not to argue)
- defending myself instead of listening humbly to any criticism (see, Pride above)
- gossip – I often talked about others in negative ways to make them look bad (That hurts other people greatly and deeply grieves God’s heart)
- resentment/bitterness/unforgiveness – I rehashed and rehashed and rehashed wrongs people had done to me and cherished my grudges (HUGE sin in God’s eyes. Jesus says God will not forgive me if I do not forgive others. Matthew 6)
- self-righteousness – thinking I was so much “better than” others
- comparing myself to others
- insecurity – because I was trying to find security in SELF or in my husband not Christ – I had idols in my soul
- disrespect – I had NO CLUE what was disrespectful vs. respectful at first
- control – what I thought was helping was actually often me trying to control other people because I had SELF and trying to control others as an idol in my heart above Christ
LEARNING WISDOM AND DISCRETION:
- I learned that I needed to filter my thoughts and not allow sinful words out of my mouth. That was NEW! And really difficult at first! At first, I still had all the sinful thoughts in my head, and was just trying not to say them. I didn’t trust myself to talk because I didn’t have godly wisdom yet!
But, in time, God changed my heart as I took each thought captive.
Eventually, God helped me to stop focusing my thoughts on negative, critical, disrespectful, resentful thoughts.
I learned to use Philippians 4:8 as a filter about what I could and could not think about
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8
If a thought didn’t fall in one of those categories, I had to trash it. Eventually, as I fed the holy thoughts and starved the sinful thoughts, my mind was renewed and I don’t even usually think the sinful thoughts anymore. That is what God wants to do with us – A TOTAL HEART CHANGE.
- God also taught me to examine my true motives and WHY I wanted to say the things I wanted to say.
God cares very much that every single one of my motives be pure and godly.
Some motives I have to watch out for:
– PRIDE, PRIDE, PRIDE
– making myself “look good”
– finding contentment in something other than Christ (idolatry)
– seeking to hurt someone
– to feel loved by a person
– to control others and make them change to do and to be what I want them to do and to be
– seeking attention for myself
– other people’s approval
– avoiding conflict
– trying to “earn” God’s approval
– trying to “be perfect” (I am a wretched sinner with nothing good in my heart on my own – that is impossible and it is idolatry of perfection)
Really, the only motives that are right with God are – to have total faith in Christ, to seek to please, love, obey and honor Christ and to seek to bless and love others with God’s love.
If those are not my motives, I have a big problem with God.
THEN GOD TAUGHT ME TO THINK THINGS AND SAY THINGS THAT GIVE LIFE
It is not enough to get rid of the bad ways of thinking and speaking – we must replace that with godly ways of thinking first, then godly ways of speaking! I don’t generally talk out loud as much as I used to. It’s ok for there to be silence at times – not angry silence, but joyful and contented silence. Every moment does not have to be filled with my words.
I began to make myself learn to think and to say:
– grateful words
– joyful in Christ words
– genuine praise for my husband and others
– respectful words
– kind words
– humble words
– healing words
– words that would bless others and build them up
– gracious words
– words of contentment in Christ
– words of genuine repentance when I sin
In time, these things became a deeply ingrained habit and didn’t feel so foreign and awkward. NOW – it feels foreign and awkward to say the sinful things! I don’t like to say them – even in an example.
PRAISE GOD for what He has done in my life! IT IS ALL HIM!
Check out my Youtube channel “April Cassidy” – the links above on “trying to be perfect” and “I had SELF and trying to control others as an idol” are links to two of my Youtube videos.