BE CAREFUL, MOTOR MOUTH!
How good we are at hiding our true selves behind our sunny faces and our little white lies! “Hello! How are you?” Without batting an eyelid, we reply, “I’m fine, thank you,” while underneath we are boiling because we have just had a set-to with our husband, son or daughter or we are struggling with one or other overwhelming emotion. We display a calm or nonchalant attitude while, on the inside, we are churning.
What about the false front we put one when we encounter someone we really don’t like or someone who has done us great harm? We pretend to be friendly but can’t wait to get away. What about the “spiritual” masks we wear so that people will have a good opinion of us. We are often schizophrenic in our attitudes and behaviour. In church we are one thing and at home quite another.
Our responses are routine or, worse still, we say what we think the other person wants to hear rather than what is true.
We wear “masks’ to cover up our real selves while inside we are often a ferment of fear, anxiety, insecurity, guilt, shame, resentment, bitterness, jealousy or whatever emotion our many adverse experiences in life have spawned. We think we can successfully hide what we think or who we really are inside by putting on a fake exterior that projects the kind of people we want to be.
However, it’s very difficult to keep up pretences and, sooner or later, we will give ourselves away. The sad thing is that we are most often unaware of the times we have given ourselves away and by a very small member of our body, our tongues. How often I have inadvertently exposed the real me by my thoughtless words!
Let me be specific. I got to know someone who became a close friend for a while. In the beginning, we got on well and, after some time we began to open up to each other. As our friendship progressed, I began to feel uncomfortable in her presence. She was a counsellor. I had the sense that, rather than enjoying a bona fide friendship, she had slipped into the mode of counsellor and I had become a counselee. She say things like, “You are very insecure,” or “You need counselling,” or even on one occasion she told me, “I think you are jealous of me.”
I was taken aback because her assessment of me didn’t seem to fit. Slowly it dawned on me that she was subconsciously doing what her counselling training had taught her; that people in emotional pain often use others on which to “dump” their emotional pain. She began to project her own weaknesses onto me. Every time she analysed me, “diagnosing” her own stuff and “dumping” it on me, I carried the guilt of what she was projecting on to me.
One evening, in an outburst against me because of an innocent comment I had made, I heard a quiet voice inside saying, “You are not guilty,” of her accusation. I felt God’s peace fill my heart. For the first time, I sat back and listened to her tirade without being upset. In that moment, I realised that her words were exposing her heart.
How accurate Jesus was when He said,
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of (Luke 6:45).
There’s the traitor!
We are not even aware, most of the time that our tongues give us away. The observations or accusations we fling at others in a moment of rage, or the criticisms we level at others or the emphatic judgements we make with such confidence are nothing more than a mirror of our hearts.
This observation should not only be a warning to us to watch our tongues; to say less and listen more, but it should also be an encouragement for us to know that we can differentiate between what is our “stuff” and our accuser’s “stuff”. I have learned from my experience with my friend that I can step back and disregard the things people say to me about me if I know that their words are unconsciously revealing themselves, not me.
I am experiencing ever-increasing freedom from guilt when I disassociate myself from the words of anger or accusation spoken to or against me. How much guilt and emotional pain I save myself when I realise that the tirade coming from the mouth of another is nothing but a mirror of their heart! I can step back and say, in my heart, “That’s not my stuff.” Amazingly, when I am free from guilt, I can also regard my aggressor with compassion because I listen to the heart of a person in pain.
How gracious our Father is to give us a tool, not to accept the load of guilt the enemy would put on us, but to have a window into the soul of another so that we can understand instead of judge, and pray instead of hate or seek revenge.
So be careful, motor mouth. Watch your tongue if you have anything in your heart to hide.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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