Why did I say that? I knew I felt that way. I knew going in that I was irritated. Why didn’t I take the time to deal with it before it came out of my mouth?
Have you ever felt that way?
Have you said something hurtful, foolish, in anger, and later thought “What could I have done differently?”.
I have, and I realize that. . .
I could have acknowledged that it was there, instead of pushing it down.
I could have prayed for wisdom.
I could have listened.
Words carry weight. They mark the heart of a child. They start wars. They heal wounds. They bridge gaps. They offer peace. They destroy marriages and friendships.
What do we do?
Self control is a fruit of the Spirit, which means that it’s a heart issue. It’s not necessarily about the “thing” you’re angry at. It’s a heart that lacks the ability to hold back words that wound your daughter, or alienate your husband, or make that cashier cringe, or that guy in the car next to you fear your rage.
But Suzie, what about their actions, their words? What about the situation that comes up that makes me so angry?
When you zip your lip and hold back hurtful words, it doesn’t mean that you don’t deal with the situation. But you:
Respond, rather than react.
You listen, rather than formulate arguments in your brain, hearing nothing that is said, not seeing the body language, the story that is being shared.
You walk away when things are just going to spiral down, and return when tempers are cooled and there’s a chance of resolution.
But most importantly, you allow the work to begin in your own heart.
Pursue God. He knows you best. He knows what you are capable of and where He desires to lead you. He knows the weak spots that are in need of growth.
Pray. Be honest with God. Read the Bible or a devotional that will lead you to truth in this area.
Change will happen.
And when it does and the heat rises, we zip our lip and wait for words that will carry real weight and address the real issue and bring real peace inside of you, regardless of another person’s response or actions.
Father, today I pray that you zip my lips when words that are critical or harsh try to come out. Help me to speak life into my children. Help me to praise you for the immense blessings in my life. Remind me that my words lift up and encourage my spouse. When I am frustrated, please help me to see the other person and how my response affects them. In Your powerful name. Amen.