Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sarcasm or Sustenance?

The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
Isa 50:4, NIV

Caustic by nature, I could burn with my words and, from my teen years, found myself praying over my heart and my speech. Under pressure I often failed to move beyond this natural inclination and, while I knew the explosions were unproductive, among my family I was not able to control them. They harmed the very people I most loved!

I would memorize Scriptures like, “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3, NIV) and Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

But, despite my best efforts and prayers, I struggled with disappointment and failure. For me, it took more than memorization and recyled requests.

During Bible study one day, God used Ephesians 4:31 to poke a finger in my chest and gently inform me that I was to get rid of my “rage.”

I’d never thought of those outbursts as rage. Anger, yes: rage, no. That was too harsh.

That day, I got down on my knees, convicted by the Holy Spirit, and asked God to forgive me for “rage” that seemed to batter me. That divinely revealed label and my contrite response seemed to cut off the ill wind that sometimes blasted my precious children’s faces. God kindly revealed this word of truth, and I agreed with the diagnosis.

The Holy Spirit started sensitizing my heart to the underlying causes, and helped me release to Christ’s nail-pierced hands each frustration and hurtful childhood memory.

Many moons later and heart more whole, I pray with a different emphasis. While sarcasm is mainly a thing of the past, I still want my words to be pleasing to God. Now, I carefully listen for the Word's instruction. I lean on the strength and sustenance of His morning presence. Through the day, I check in frequently for God's voice. No need to resort to fruitless ways of speaking. God's soothing voice sustains.

For your consideration:

Might God be putting a finger on a displeasing habit of speech? What label would you use? What label might God use?

Are you willing to stay still with Ephesians 4:20-32 and listen for God’s insights?

Are you ready to comply with the Spirit’s diagnosis, and listen for Christ’s sustaining word to you?



I too had a quick, sharp and cynical tongue as a young married woman. I never thought about it being or inappropriate, anything but clever until after a divorce relieved me also of my anger and hurt that I disguised through inappropriate remarks.

I still wince at the scriptures regarding that small member of the body, the tongue, as it is all too easy to be critical of everyone but myself. The tongue, of anyone I believe, needs a monitor on it.

This is a wonderful post, thank you!

Paula said...

Thank you. Amazing that God can transform us, isn't it?! Truly amazing.

I loved this phrase on one of your blogs, "positioned for gratitude."

May you continue to sense God's loving care: "Underneath [you] are the everlasting arms."

sundog said...

I still remember you sharing this with me many years ago. Thank you for all the wisdom you've imparted to me. It is amazing how repentance brings awareness. Jesus has brought me so far... and yet I have so far to go. I love you Paula!

Paula said...

How true that repentance brings awareness. Obedience does too.
Sherri, God has given you many gifts. He will continue to grow Jesus' life in you to bless many.
I am thankful for the opportunities we've had to share our experiences of God's mercy to us.
God continue to richly bless you and your family.