“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19-20 NIV)
“For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45 NIV)
What is it that fills up your heart? Is it full of what Luke describes as “good things” that you have stored up in your heart, or do you find your heart overflowing with things that you know are not good? Today we were challenged to think about how our heart and tongue are connected, and how when our heart is sick, (spiritually speaking) our tongue can way out of control. Sometimes we get to a place where we are in such a destructive pattern that we don’t even fully realize how hurtful and damaging the words we speak, and the things we say (to and about) people really are. Some of us have wounded people deeply, and many of us walk around with scars, or still bear the weight of words said to us that have defined us and had power over us for way to long.
A very powerful element of our day involved students writing the most hurtful thing that has ever been said to them on one side of a piece of paper… on the other side they were to write the most hurtful thing that they had ever said to someone, or about someone. As we were challenged with the truth of the Word of God through the evening message (from the above passages), there came a point where those pieces of paper were collected and were thrown into the trash, but not before we were all challenged to take some time to do business with those we’ve offended. For some that meant a personal conversation with someone in the room…. For others it meant making a phone call, sending a text, or finding a way to seek out the person that they had wronged and apologizing… As the power of the Holy Spirit was at work in convicting, leading, challenging, and moving students, and as the notes they had written were being collected to be thrown away, each student was given a personal note of encouragement written by their leaders of affirmation and truth, spoken to them, and over them, about who God says that they are in His Word. It was a powerful time together of challenge, affirmation, letting-go, healing, and trusting the Lord in his leading to continue to restore, rescue, and use His people and their words in some pretty amazing ways.