Recently my big sister got married, and my mother being the super woman that she is played a key role in the wedding preparations. Doing everything from making the dress and icing the cakes, to going all around the island running errands.
She did most of this with a smile on her face and a song in her heart. Though she often had moments of anger and exhaustion she never attacked anyone or exploded on them like I would have wanted to.
Each day the Lord gave her a spot on scripture in relation to her exact situation, as well as just the right amount of energy to get through the trials of that twenty-four hour period. However, amidst this I was constantly boiling over as I watched people take advantage of her kindness and walk over her as she seemingly sat there and took it.
What made it worse was that every time I decided to give them a piece of my mind she quieted me. It was not like I would have dared to use profanity or physically fight with them, because that wasn't Christ-like, butI would have simply stabbed them with a few sharp statements to teach them a lesson.
Although a high percentage of the time I regretted these statements afterwards, I did not feel as though I could help it, and if I could I knew it would be a long time before I would reach my mother's level of tolerance.
In the midst of this hectic and trying period, God led me to a study of the book of James; looking back I can only laugh at the irony of the scriptures that He had in store for me. Verse 21 of the first chapter, "Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls", stood out to me and I immediately researched the exact definition of meekness, which was "enduring injury with patience and without resentment; not wanting to fight or argue with other people."
I chuckled at the definition while convincing myself that somehow this was not important for me to dwell on, but I could not seem to stop thinking about it.
I did not associate myself at all with "filthiness and rampant wickedness" because that sounded far too serious. However, as I read on to verse twenty-six I noticed how seriously detrimental my inability to control my tongue could be.
It read "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue he deceives himself and his religion isworthless." The four latter words shook me as I read and reread them. Although I knew that I had to be more intentional about what I said, I would often push these efforts to the back burner in more stressful situations. I felt as though not being able to speak my mind as often as I would like to would enslave me.
While on the other hand, I was realising how much my brutal, unseasoned honesty had hurt many people around me as well as had jeopardised other aspects of my life. As I analysed this I realised that deep down I was rather proud of my quick tongue, because it had won me so many battles, disciplined so many people and gotten me what I wanted on numerous occasions. Yet the thought of my religion being considered false in the sight of God terrified me.
Testing out the Reins
I knew that it was time to begin really working towards meekness, but I also knew my track record with consistency in this area. So even before I began, I had deemed this process to be stressful.
I went through the next couple of daysoften closing my mouth just before saying something harsh and often slipped up by letting out the comments that were far too funny to keep in, and of course regretted them afterwards. During this time I also began to realise that my tongue had the tightest reins when it was time to apologise. Each time the words "I'm sorry" exited my mouth I felt somewhat naked, especially after an argument in which I felt as though I had a right to hurt the other person with my words.
Not on My Own
As I moved on to chapter three in the book of James, I breathed a sigh of relief after reading verse eight, which indicated that no man can tame his tongue. This was a necessary reminder for me that I should not try to fight this in my own strength, because I would never win. So instead I vowed to rely on my Father for guidance and direction.
I also came to realise that it was solely my mother's relationship with God that kept her meek. She knew that her Father was working all things together for her good and so she did not have to waste energy in unnecessary battles.
My Prayer in this Season
Therefore my prayer for myself and everyone else struggling with an unruly tongue is this: That our Father teaches us the importance of meekness and how to be meek, that our speech may be seasoned with salt, that our words would build up instead of tear down, that we would speak the truth in love, that we would know when to speak up and when to be silent, and above all, that our every word would be a reflection of Him.
Danielle Jones was born on the beautiful island of Barbados to phenomenal parents. She is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Arts in Drama as a part of a joint programme between the University of the West Indies, Mona and the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica. She hopes to speak fluent Spanish someday, do global missionary work and spread the love of Christ.
Danielle Jones' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/danielle-jones.html