Trash Talk

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you.            Psalm 19:14

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“Can one of you please reach over and hand me that trash can?” I ask my students during Sunday School.

“Can anyone tell me what is in this trash can?” “Um, trash, Miss. January (Like, duh!)” “Right, and what do we know about trash?” I ask.

“Well, it’s stinky. It’s gross. And it makes the trash can dirty and stinky, too!”

“Hmmmm…….are our mouths a little like trash cans?”

Who knew a trash can and a loaded question about our mouths could become an object lesson for a group of 8 to 11 year olds? Who knew it would also convict me?

Is my mouth like that gross, stinky trash can? Does what come from my lips resemble foul-smelling garbage?

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish; but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who are made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! James 3:7-10

Come on, now! Surely, I don’t bless God with these lips, and then use them to spew garbage!

Oh, but surely I do!

Because, I’d be calling myself a liar if I didn’t admit to trashing my neighbor.

I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit I gossip about my co-workers.

I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit your Facebook statuses are sometimes the topic of some of my “trash” talking sessions with my girlfriends.

I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that I speak out of anger to my husband, sometimes to intentionally hurt him.

I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that many times I yell at my children, instead of building them up.

I’d be lying if I didn’t look at myself in the mirror and let the “trash” talk roll.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that sometimes my mouth is just as foul, just as stinky, and just as dirty as that garbage can.

Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips. Psalm 141:3

Once again a simple Sunday School lesson on trash talk has revealed many of the ways I could be more like Jesus in my daily life and conversations.

So, I am convicted to empty the trash that pours from my lips. To replace the stench of unkind words with the pleasant aroma of a compliment or word of encouragement. To replace the gossip about my co-workers or neighbors with prayers that I may see them in the way Jesus does. To stop and think before I yell at my husband or kids. To learn to use my words to build up instead of tear down.

To take out the stinky, gross, foul-smelling trash once and for all!

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