“Our tongues show us how spiritually proud and self-righteous we are. For example, my critical tongue often reveals a heart that is sadly out of touch with how much I have received grace, love and forgiveness. I know this because it is not loving things that are overflowing through my tongue, but instead a spirit of being better and knowing better than others. I am right and they are wrong, and I need to point it out so everyone is clear about it. I complain beacuse I know that I am right and everyone else is wrong. Likewise, my instinctive defensiveness and inability to apologize sincerely and quickly demonstrates that I am not really trusting in Christ to be my reputation and righteousness. I must uphold my good record of performance before others. I need people to know that I am better than they think (when in fact I can safely say I am actually worse than they think!). These and other failures prove how easily I slip away from living out of the Gospel.”
Our words reveal whether we have Gospel-shaped hearts or ME-shaped hearts.
Try to live by these five laws—there’s a negative and a positive side to all this.
- Do not gossip (do not say anything negative about anyone, do not “confess their sins,” do not mention your frustrations or irritations about anyone… anyone!). Rather, speak well of others.
- Do not complain about anything, but give thanks in all things.
- Do not blame-shift or make excuses (at all, for anything) but own your mistakes and confess your sins (outward sin and at the motive, heart level).
- Do not defend yourself but do acknowledge where the critique is accurate.
- Do not boast about anything in yourself but do boast in your weakness and need.
They say, “Now, go give it a try.” Okay, but what’s the point of the assignment? The point of the assignment is until you come to grips with how hard it is to tame your tongue, you don’t realize what’s really going on in your heart. That means—you don’t know who you really are in Christ. Your tongue—the words you use—reveal who you are. So, until you take what you say more seriously, you won’t know what’s going on in your heart, and if you don’t know the condition of your heart, you don’t know who you really are.
See it? If we’re not aware of the condition of our hearts, we end up living self-deceived lives.
So, for one week...
- Don’t gossip or repeat negative information about anyone.
- Don’t complain or grumble.
- Don’t blame-shift or make excuses—at all—about anything.
- Don’t defend yourself or make excuses no matter what.
- Don’t boast about anything.
- Speak well of others.
- Give thanks in all things.
- Own your mistakes and confess your sins.
- Accept a critique with grace.
- Boast in your weakness and need.
This isn't easy. But the point is—as we come to grips with just how hard this is—you'll come to grips with yourself—with your heart. And that will drive you to the One who can heal your words and heal your heart.
The key thing to remember is that God doesn't love you any more or any less based on how well you do with this assignment. We will fail—and the Good News is—God’s grace covers that. But Jesus uses these strong words to wake us up and motivate us to take what we say as seriously as God. He uses these strong words about our words because he wants to see that words are the window to seeing what’s going on in our hearts. So, give God first place in your heart, and your words will change without you thinking about it. When God rules in your heart—your heart changes, and your words will follow suit.
The following resource has been a great help to us in preparing this article: The Sonship Tongue Assignment
*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.*
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