Tongue, Voice, Words, Speech; all of these words invoke powerful thoughts and mental images. Hurtful things that were said to you. Encouraging comments you have never forgotten. Our own downfalls and failures. Things we have said that we wish we could erase. Lost moments, we could have and should have used our voice for good.
I’m overwhelmed, when I think about the power of the tongue and the responsibility we have to tame our own.
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue"
The Bible is very clear about the power our tongue has and in which way we should use it. I know we have all heard the messages about not being a tongue- wagging woman! We have been instructed to not be the nagging wife who makes a man want to "dwell in the corner of a housetop". But let me tell you what has been on my heart these last few weeks.
The power of our tongue with our children. I read a recent quote that has really stuck in my heart. It was this:
"How you speak to your child
will become their inner voice"
I don't know about you but after reading that brief statement, I just stopped. I couldn’t think about anything else. It caused me to really stop and think. It made me really evaluate how I speak to my children and what I want that voice to be used for. Do I want my voice, to be the voice in the back of their heads for a lifetime that says, "Your not brave enough for that", "You always mess up.","Your not as good as other people.".
I DEFNITELY don’t! While I have never said those exact words to my children, it caused me to examine if any words have crossed my lips that may lead to that kind of thinking or anything else harmful.
I don't want to instill fear in my child, unless it is fear of the Lord. While they will make mistakes, I don't want to draw attention to their faults without reminding them of God's forgiveness and their ability for success in Him. I definitely want them to see at least a small picture of God's love through me. I want them to find in me, someone who believes in them. Someone who cares enough to train them to do right but is kind and patient along the way.
I heard in church recently the definition of train. Training isn't just teaching. Teaching is explaining a truth one time. Training is teaching it, showing it, reminding, doing it with that person, constant repetition. Training is a long time goal. And you know what training requires?
I don't know about you, but do you know what the first thing that goes for me when I run out of patience is? My tongue. It's important for me to remember that I'm running a race not a sprint. And a successful race is run correctly. It's not just important that I finish the race of training my kids in right paths. It's important that I do it with a kindness and grace. Not neglecting things that need to be dealt with. Not ignoring sin because its unpleasant. But using my voice to train with love and wisdom. Wisdom makes us train when our flesh wants to be lazy. Love makes us train with a kind tongue when we want to lash out.
I don't want my child to ever doubt the Love of Christ. Since as parents, we embody how they will see Christ I long to show them no reason to doubt my love.
I want my child to believe God can do anything through them. Not just belief in their own ability but in God's. So I long to build up God's strength in their eyes and never breed doubt in Gods strength in their minds.
I want my child to believe they are capable of doing right and that God can help them overcome sin. I strive to not tell them that they are defined by a sin they struggle with. They don't have to be mean person. They don't have to be a liar. They don’t have to be selfish. While all children will fall as they learn these traits and as they come to know Christ as their Saviour and grow as Christians, I don't ever want to be a voice in their head calling them by their sin.
I once heard a quote that said,
"Satan calls us by our sin,
God calls us by our name."
I certainly want to be more like Christ in this situation than like Satan. I want to see past their mistakes to what they can be with some love and godly training. I also want to guide them with a tempered tongue. I want the voice that I ingrain in their head to be one of confidence in Christ, one of kindness and one of love. I have a voice. It may be a small thing to others but to me it means a lot. I want my voice to be used. I want it to be used for good and for God. I don't want to look back after many years and see a life full of regret over a voice used up on selfish tantrums and hurtful words. Whether with my children, my husband or the people the Lord has allowed me to affect through my lifetime.
Their was once a young man, who was having many troubles in elementary school as a child. Eventually the teachers sent him home and told him and his mother he was "addled" or mentally ill and couldn't learn. His mother refused to believe this and successfully home-schooled him through his entire education. Later he wrote this in his journal,
“Thomas Alva Edison was an addled child that, by a hero mother, became the genius of the century.”
Thomas Edison, a genius inventor, who gave our world many advances was made into a success by the voice and belief of a mother. Maybe the only person who believed in him in the world. What an amazing story of using your voice in a powerful way for good.
As I walk through life, I want my voice to be used for good in every arena. For it will be known for something! I pray it will be for good. I pray that I can raise children who love and follow the Lord. I pray I can affect those Christ allows to cross my path with a voice that encourages, uplifts and points to Christ. I pray that my voice is never known for reminding others of their faults, gossiping about others that need love or being ungracious. I have but one life, I pray in that time my voice will bring glory to the Lord.