This one verse in James, which has struck me as important in the past, has taken on different meaning for me recently. I think on it several times a day. I remember in the past thinking that one can know he/she has mastered oneself - and perfected all other aspects, when only good comes out of his/her mouth. I've understood this scripture to mean that the words we speak are indicative of how imperfect or how perfect we are. But this time, I've come to understand it differently. I'm wondering if it can work in reverse. In other words, if I can perfect my words, will everything else follow? My thoughts, my heart, my actions? Because perfecting my words seems much less monumental and daunting than perfecting everything else! And it's so measurable! There's no justifying or gray areas with words. They either uplift or downgrade; they are truth or lies; they are profane or pure; they are light-minded or sober. So as I thought on this, I determined to work on it. WOW. I've learned SO much about myself this last week!
1: I've learned that "word" means not only what I speak, but also what I write.
2: I've learned that there's a whole lot more that we say that is offensive than just swear words.
I determined to stop and think before EVERYTHING I say. This has caused me to be pretty quiet this week. I honestly had no idea that I spoke so offensively until I started on this trek. There have been so many times that I opened my mouth only to quickly shut it before words escaped. As I've prayed for help in this, I've been so grateful to see that there are words I start to say that, although true, do not uplift. Words that embarass. Words that are light-minded. There have been so many times this week when I've had entire conversations in my head trying to figure out the best way to get a point across without offending. It's been an entertaining and enlightening experience! At the end of a couple of these days I've felt really, really good as I've reported my actions in prayer. But most of the days I've had to repent and ask for forgiveness and for help to do better the next day. Actually, most of the days I've been blessed to recognize my error just after I let words slip out of my mouth and I've been blessed to be able to start the repentance process right then. But the times when I've done well have really paid off. I've seen clearly the results of speaking only uplifting words.
I love how Heavenly Father works with us, and how all of Heaven seems to join forces to bring about good. I'm so grateful I was working on my "words" for a few days before coming home. And I hope that as I continue this quest that my "very nature will be changed" as I use the Atonement to speak only holy, uplifting, positive words.
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