A couple of years ago I had a pretty rough week away from my kids. By the time I came home, I felt the wind had been knocked out of me. My confidence had been shaken, and I felt like I had disappointed everyone. All I could think about was getting home to the loving arms of my children, who had all the confidence in the world in me, who loved me without any conditions whatsoever, who didn’t have a judgmental bone in their warm little bodies.
They don’t make fun. They don’t mock. They don’t even think ill of me or say bad things about me when I’m not around. Children are simply loving because they don’t know any other way. They’re born knowing intuitively how to adore their mother, how to overlook a million flaws and sins, how to love her just because she exists and she is theirs. And, their mother isn’t the only person who gets this sweet loving treatment. Children are much more likely than the average adult to be understanding, to be kind, to be gracious.
Lately I’ve been painfully aware of how different I am from my children. Of how harsh my privately spoken words can be. Of how I have a bad habit of speaking too loudly and too often out of a heart that is clearly not in tune with the Spirit of the Living God. It makes me cringe to think of it.
It’s easy to say, I wish I would stop talking so much. But, the talking isn’t the real issue. No, the true problem is much deeper and scarier: A good woman brings good things out of the good stored up in her heart, and an evil woman brings evil things out of the evil stored up in her heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45
There are times when I’m talking, and it’s like I’m having a strange out of body experience. I hear the unkind words coming out, and I think, Oh my goodness. This is really how my heart feels about this. And, this is wicked.
Oh, how I want to be more like my children. How I want them to keep their kindness about them, their grace, their understanding. How I pray that I haven’t already led them into sin by showing them through my words how bad my heart condition is. As Jesus said in Luke 17:1: Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.
So, I haven’t made a single resolution for 2016. But, today I need one. I pray that this is the year that I bring my heart closer to the only One who can change me. I ask Jesus to change my heart so that my mouth will produce only the kind of words that encourage, build up, and strengthen. May His goodness and grace and mercy flow out of me, and may my children continue in their pursuit of all that is good and noble and lovely. I pray that the world would see this in our hearts and hear it from our mouths. Amen.