I am reading James right now and have been sharing with the boys about our tongues (ch.3) and the huge effect such a small part of our body can have. “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.” (vs.5-6) “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives. Or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” (10-12) We talked about how we can be singing praises to God one moment and then the next moment turn and yell at our brother. This is not how it should be! It has been a good lesson for all of us. We are focusing on using soft, gentle voices and kind words. I am continually reminding them of this throughout the day, as well as myself. I am teaching them to listen for my soft voice, that I will not yell or say things twice. They need to train their ears to hear my soft voice and act after the first time I say something. It’s been kind of a fun game we’ve been playing. I will give them a warning by gently touching them to get their attention and reminding them to listen for my voice. I also told them that if I raise my voice or say things more than once, that they can gently touch me and say, “Mom, you don’t have to raise your voice, we will listen for your soft voice!” or “Mom, you don’t have to say it twice, we will obey the first time.” :) The little ones really respond well with this and think it’s fun! They really do love to please us and do what’s right. They just need our help.
We've also looked at Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." I share this one often with the boys throughout the day. I ask them if the words they were using were encouraging to their brother. They know the answer right away. And even as the words are coming out of my mouth I am be reminded about my own words and how everything I say should build up my children and give grace to their little hearts.
I feel like I am constantly learning and working in this area! It has to be a daily, conscious focus in order for me to not live in the flesh and be the mother I don't want to be. By the Lord's grace and strength I feel like I am making steps in the right direction. Two steps forward, one step back. One step at a time. :)
I'd love to hear from some of you. What is God teaching you as you raise your little arrows? Let's start a dialogue. "But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." (Heb. 3:13)