Monday, June 5, 2017

June 5

II Samuel 23:24-24:25; Acts 3:1-26; Psalm 123:1-4; Proverbs 16:21-23

While reading, I knew I wanted to touch on today's Proverbs reading.  I like the Proverbs - they're pithy and wise and so accurate to what I see in human nature.  I've been struck throughout this year by the wise/foolish proverbs.  They continue to hit close to home as I think about some loved ones.  I find, though, that I am quick to apply the proverbs to other people and less quick to see their application and truth in my own life.

Until these last couple weeks, with all their talk of words and lips and tongues.  Ouch.  I clearly need these reminders for my daily encounters.  So today's reading was a call to action.  Yes, I want to speak "pleasant words [that] promote instruction" (Pr. 16:21).  Yes, I want my heart to "[guide my] mouth" (Pr. 16:23).  Yes, I want to speak with thought and wisdom and kindness and gentleness and prudence.  Good show, Proverbs.  You're right, and let's do this again next week.  I finished my reading, on board and committed.

And then my children came home from school.  Every noble intention went out the window.  My words were not pleasant; my heart was not discerning; instruction did not fall from my lips.  Fail.  Fail.  Epic fail.

I think of James and his description of the power of the tongue (Jam. 3:6, 8).  I am not "a perfect man, able to keep [my] whole body in check" (vs. 2), and this corruption is seen most clearly in my speech.  The speeches to my nearest and dearest are particularly susceptible to angry, hurtful words (and tones).

Lord, I want to be wise and discerning.  I want the Spirit who resides within me to guide my mouth.  I want to speak pleasant words; I want my speech to promote instruction.  I am far from this point.  My mouth reflects the impurities of my heart and mind.  Change the inner parts of me so that "the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart [are] acceptable" (Ps. 19:14) to you, God.  Amen.

- Sarah Marsh

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