“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teachings of kindness is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26 ESV
As I was studying my Bible recently this verse really stood out to me.
First, anytime a verse from Proverbs 31 comes into play I am so tempted to feel defeated before even reading it. Let’s be honest the woman in Proverbs 31 seems perfect and I instantly think there is no way I am able to meet her standard. (Which I address in my book, You Are- Trusting God To Define Who You Are). But this verse is especially hard for me to live up to.
As Christians we are already given this unfair idea of perfectionism, immeasurable kindness, and continual, unconditional love by both believers and non-believers. So when this verse is reinforcing the importance of what is coming out of our mouths and that kindness should be a major component of that I am instantly hit with guilt and the feeling of being a failure.
If you know me then you already know I have no problem talking! I have never really had a problem with saying what’s on my mind or how I feel about something. Having no issue with speaking freely and being assertive is a double edge sword at times. While I credit those qualities to helping me accomplish positive things in my life I can also say they have hurt me and discredited me at times as well.
When I think of what has come out of my mouth even in the last few months I can definitely say I did not always have wisdom, kindness, or love flowing out. Ask my husband and my kids and I am pretty sure they would agree with me. It seems those who are closest to us unfortunately are those who get the worst of us at times. The last year I have been working on being more intentional with my words and not just my words but the tone of my voice.
So I am taking this verse as my reminder to redirect my thoughts and therefore what comes out of my mouth. While speaking freely what is on my mind and being assertive are a part of who I am, how I use those qualities are completely in my control. Not only is this important for me to remember for myself it is important for the example I am setting for my own children. They mimic everything we do, what we say, and how we say it.
To help myself as well as my children we have been talking about using our words only to encourage and show love . We wrote down what biblical love is from the verses in 1 Corinthians 13 each characteristic of love on a post it note. They each helped decorate them and we hung them up on the kitchen wall as a daily reminder for all of us as a family. It has not only helped them it has helped me! We do most of our school work in the kitchen, most of my daily housework happens in the kitchen, we spend so much of our day preparing, eating, and cleaning up in the kitchen it was the perfect location for us.
There is no need to assume that the famous Proverbs 31 woman was perfect either, I can assure you she was not. The quality that was most important about her was her faith and her intention. So I am focusing on my faith and my intention especially when it comes to my mouth! If you are like me maybe this can serve as a small reminder to you as well. So here is to controlling our tongues and focusing on speaking wisdom, kindness, and love to our husbands and our children.
“13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)