“Be careful little mouth of what you say, be careful little mouth of what you say. For the Father up above is looking down with love so be careful little mouth of what you say.”
It seemed innocent enough at the time. I didn’t mean any malice or ill-will. In fact, I wasn’t even angry; mostly bored. Late last week, after Nick left to take the kids to school, I called my sister. We chatted for a minute about our long to-do lists but then I started telling her about this, that and the other that was driving me crazy about ole’ hubbyicious. She listened, chimed in occasionally and we hung up. I honestly never thought another thing about it. I wrangled the smallest fry into his clothes, Nick came home to pick us up and we left to take aforementioned small fry to preschool. I was riding shotgun singing along with K-Love like I didn’t have a care in the world when it happened. My precious little baby pipes up from the back seat and says, “um, dad? Mom was talking about you on the phone to Gigi when you were gone.” DANG. Where is the eject button in this truck anyway?? I’ve not had a near death experience but I’d imagine it goes something like what happened to my heart at that moment. Like, at the risk of sounding to ridiculous, I am not ashamed to tell you I considered just tucking and rolling from the moving vehicle. What? It seemed like a viable option at the time. I also envisioned pretending to choke on the protein bar I was eating, forcing myself into an uncontrollable coughing fit or just throwing my phone to Luke in hopes that it would be a giant distraction. But no. Instead I sat there, holding my breath to see how this was gonna pan out. Little bit goes on to tell daddy word for stinkin word what I said to my sister on the phone. And I thought the little turd was watching Spongebob. I hadn’t said anything that was marriage-ending so that was good 🙂 but still. You all. I was so ashamed. I felt like I had betrayed this precious man who loves me despite the fact that I never get up on time, always make us late, continue to keep a filthy car despite his utter annoyance with it, and the list goes on. Thankfully, he wasn’t to mad and only fussed a little because I have ‘diarrhea of the mouth’. I, on the other hand, have continued to think about the conversation and the impact my mouth has on those around me.
I have grown up singing the old song, “be careful little mouth of what you say” and have now taught it to our children. Well, my little mouth says a WHOLE l0t from day to day. Right in front of those little ones I am trying to teach to be kind and Christ-like with their words. From my high horse I’d tell you that I never talk about anyone or any situation at all, let alone in front of my kids, but I like to stay down here in humbleville these days. And the truth is, I do talk. No, I’m not calling anyone cruel names or being all-Malificient vicious but I talk, nonetheless. Maybe someone annoyed me at the grocery store or maybe I am unhappy with a choice that a family member has made. Perhaps someone has gotten under my skin and I can make a joke about it to someone else (although I am not particularly funny, this is something I do more than I care to admit.) And dog-gone-it if I don’t just open my yapper and talk right in front of my children. Yes, I usually think they are occupied with something else but Luke is living proof that they actually can listen and do something else at the same time. Sad face. It is one thing to do something sinful in front of adults but quite another to do in front of children. As their momma, they are watching me to see what I am doing. Like it or not, I have been teaching my children that as long as you do it in ‘fun’ or behind closed doors, it is okay to express your disdain with someone else. Well, that is enough to make me want to puke.
Now, what about the listener? My little sister, the one who should (hopefully and perhaps) look up to me, is also hearing me talk ill about someone. She is a married woman too, you know. So, let’s think about this. I called her before 8AM and began to complain about an absolutely fine fella and set the tone for her day. Not only did my negative attitude toward my husband affect her, it had the potential to affect her marriage as well. What if she began fixating on the fault in her spouse, like I was so selfishly doing with mine? I think that’s what they call the trickle down effect. And it’s alive and well. Satan loves the trickle down effect. He wants us to find fault in others, spread negative attitudes like the plague and become so entangled in our own selfish worlds so that we are preoccupied with everything but Jesus. Idolatry at its finest.
Finally, there is the one whom my soul loves that I have hurt with my careless words. In Genesis, God makes it clear that the two are to become one flesh. I have no choice, then, but to believe that when you hurt your spouse you are also hurting yourself. No, I didn’t say anything horrible, just the usual wife-like complaints, but I still spoke of it in front of our child. His child. I, without intending to, planted a little seed about what marriage should look like. If I continue down that road, I would be watering that little seed until he has his own opinions, the wrong opinions, about how a wife should treat her husband. And you know what? One day that little fry will be a husband, as will my other son. I want them to learn to be Godly in all their ways and yet, here I am, the mouth of the south, talking about their daddy. Ephesians 4:29 says this:
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
God makes it pretty clear that not only are we not to talk about someone else but we must say things that are helpful to the listeners around us. We have to continually be watching and paying attention to our surroundings, constantly aware of the needs of others. My children need a Godly mother to show my daughter how to be a wife and to teach my sons what to look for in one. My sister needs a Godly mentor and example. My husband needs a Godly wife who lifts him up and supports his walk with the Lord. I have made a new commitment to be all those things, and more, to those around me. Not only that, but if your mouth needs a zipper like mine did, I encourage you to heed God’s word and say goodbye to the gross, unGodly habit of careless talk, too. My prayer is that I can be so consumed with Christ that it is contagious 🙂