"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be aquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." - Matthew 12:33-37
As Tom Holladay points out in Chapter 17, that will make you think twice about an "innocent" slip of the tongue.
A few days ago, we talked about not being able to keep our feelings buried inside. No matter how strong we are, they always leak out into our relationships. The same thing happens with our communication. If we are filled with love, our words will be filled with love, but conversely, if we harbor bitterness or envy, it will show in how we communicate in our relationships.
And the bigger problem, as Tom points out, is that we get caught in a two-way cycle. When we harbor ill-feelings, they affect our words...when our words are hurtful, it stores more bitterness in our heart. The only way to stop the cycle is to take our heart AND our words more seriously.
I certainly have some work to do here. Many times my first response can be sarcastic. I've never thought about the implication that has on my relationships. I generally think of these remarks as being witty or funny ways to make my point. But I'd probably be more effective, and it would definitely be better if I found a more loving way to say the same thing. I guess the sarcasm just comes easier, but that doesn't excuse it. I'm going to focus more on what I say, especially to my children, and on the feelings in my heart that affect them.
Day 18 - A New Kind of Honesty