I think it’s fair to say that the majority of people in this world would like to be known as people of integrity as opposed to deceitful, right? We want to be good and honest friends, spouses, parents, co-workers, etc.! We want our legacy to be one of respect and fairness.
Integrity: being whole, honest, upright; being a person with good moral principle.
One main characteristic of a person of integrity is that she does what she says she is going to do. Shows up when she says she’ll be there; performs the tasks she said she’d do. In other words, her words match her actions and vice versa.
And in the realm of spiritual simplicity, our words (just like our actions) communicate who we are and what we believe so the more straightforward they are, the simpler they are to understand, the better.
Words can be far more powerful that we might imagine and can pack a serious punch. They have very real consequences and they often reveal the state of our hearts.
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45, NIV
Karen Ehman of Proverbs 31 ministries came out with a book a couple years ago called Keep It Shut and she has a 40 day Devotional out just last week as a follow-up called Zip It! In her book, (and I haven’t checked her sources, btw), she says there are more than 3,500 verses in the Bible that relate to words, speech, silence, and communication.
That’s a lot of verses! And it makes sense, really, that words and speech would be written about so often because, according to a recent University of Arizona study out of their College of Communications, the average person speaks 16,000 words per day orally and in writing. That’s a lot of words.
So…what DOES the Bible say about words and speaking and how can we learn the best ways of keeping them simple enough that our actions match our words in integrity-maintaining ways?
Let’s start by reading James 3:2-12. You can either read it in your own Bible or you can Click this link. I’ll hang here while you do! 😉
Kinda serious, right?!
Here’s the thing. Our words and the messages we communicate get complicated by five different things:
1. We speak out of emotion, instead of fact. (Remember that our feelings are indicators but they do NOT have to be dictators!)
2. We speak too much. (Our message gets muddled, complicated, or just plain not listened to after awhile.)
3. We speak before we listen. (Sadly, there is no class on public listening, just public speaking!)
4. We say things we don’t mean (Flat out lies or saying yes when we really mean no).
5. We don’t speak up when we should. (Because of our desire to people pleasing and our own insecurity.)
So what’s a good BS girl to do to ensure integrity and simplicity of speech? Glad you asked! Before we let our mouths get us in trouble, we stop, we shut it, and we grab hold of this week’s power pack scripture verse from Psalm 46:10:
Standing on the simplicity of that bold directive, we can then pray David’s words from
Psalm 141:3: Set a guard over my mouth, Lord, and watch over the door of my lips.
We then stay in the Psalms a minute longer and pray 19:14:
Psalm 19:14 New Living Translation (NLT)
May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Those words should be enough to give us a reboot to recalibrate our hearts to a place where our words are true, thoughtful, caring, and helpful. This is a reboot of the thoughts BEFORE those thoughts can escape! How many times have you wanted a reboot after words came out of your mouth? (If you’re like me, maybe your answer is…A LOT!)
And if you can’t remember those particular verses easily, here’s my favorite way to stop my words before I regret them: I do a REBOOT of my mouth just like I do on my computer: ctrl-alt-del.
Control those lips – keep ’em shut! Alter what’s about to come out! Delete anything from my mental dialogue (or keyboard and screen…) that isn’t helpful! Turn to prayer, scripture, and trusted wise counsel to process what’s really going on in your heart before spouting off, girls. It just might save your integrity!
Tim told me about a quote from the movie, Invictus, he always tries to remember. I didn’t see the movie but it was something one of the rugby coaches tells another coach when they are talking about how to successfully motivate players. He says, “We must be careful to use our words as to encourage rather than criticize.” That totally reminded me of this beaut:
Proverbs 16:24 New Living Translation (NLT)
Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
We’re not talking sickly sweet placations that have no footing of sincerity. We’re talking thoughtful, honest words that help instead of hurt. Just think about how lovely it feels when someone speak kindly over you or to you! And remember how good it feels when you do the same for someone else.
Finally, I want to end on this note from Proverbs today:
Proverbs 18:21 The Message (MSG)
Words kill, words give life;
they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.
You choose, sweet friends; you choose.
Following along with us in our She Persisted study? Click here for this week’s homework! And, if you one of my kindred spirit sisters who likes the extra goods, click here for some additional resources for this week! I apologize for the two week gap in homework and extra resources! My computer “died” and I got a new one (YAY) so unfortunately, those two weeks aren’t able to be digitized. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you! But hey, just think of it as a two-week vaca! LOVE it!
Come on back next week as we begin our discussion on calling…and talk about something fun we’re cookin’ up for summer!
Peace, Love and JOY!