Words of Hope: Oyster Mouth

Dad and I both struggle with our mouths sometimes. Dad said things he should not say. I would get so frustrated with him when he would do this. Now, I have the same struggle at times but in different situations. Dad would miss the emotional cues in public sometimes. I miss the emotional cues with my daughters. I am critical when they need encouragement. I am heavy-handed when they need gentleness.

Dad and I both talked about the power of the tongue. I imagine Jesus living a sinless life, including the perfect control of the tongue. He did get angry but did not sin. He did not say too much nor too little. In scripture, James 3:2 says, “We all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.”

As I made my resolutions for 2022, I had the resolution of the oyster mouth. I picture the only time it opens is to bring a pearl of value to the conversation. Since making that goal, I have stumbled many times. I find myself asking forgiveness yet again. I check-in and evaluate how I did the day before each day. Just like working out or losing weight, this journey takes time. It is a balance of consequence and grace. I find myself more graceful when someone is harsh with me. Each day is a discipline to atrophy old habits and step into the new disciplines. I asked my family to immediately tell me if I was off track in my comments. Recently my daughter sent me a voice video. I said what I liked but also wanted to give my suggestions. My suggestions were critical. She has some of the best voice teachers in the country. My ego outdoes the basic logic that I’m not her voice teacher, and I’m not in the league of those who are. My job is to love and encourage her, and if she wants suggestions, she’ll ask. I am thankful for this reminder from the Spirit and the refocused attention to realign my goals for an oyster mouth.

 “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and saltwater flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” – James 3: 7-12