Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Lips are Concealed

By Cynthia Brown Cooksey

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, But only what is helpful for building others up, According to their needs,That it may benefit those who listen”(Ephesians 4:29)NIV.

I rummaged through my purse in the seat next to me as I sat waiting for the traffic light to turn green. My lips were dry and cracking from the bitter cold conditions, and I was trying to find my Chap Stick for quick relief. The light turned green, and traffic began to move. With my eyes now on the road, I kept blindly feeling for the tiny tube as I accelerated with the flow of cars.

Instead of the Chap Stick, I came upon what I thought was my lip gloss. Thankful for anything that could provide relief to my irritated lips, I grabbed the tube from the bottom of my purse. Still watching the road ahead, I unscrewed the cap and used the sponge applicator to rub the moist balm onto my lips.

At the next traffic light, I looked in the rear view mirror to check my application of lip gloss. Something did not feel quite right, and I wondered what was wrong. To my surprise, when I looked in the mirror I realized that I had applied ivory toned concealer instead of lip gloss. My lips were now the same color as the skin surrounding them!

As I looked for a tissue to wipe away my mistake, I thought about the fact that sometimes it would be best if my lips really were concealed. I recalled many times when being silent would have been a much better choice than speaking my mind. The reflection in my mirror reminded me that I frequently speak harshly to my husband or children and say things to them that I would never say to others outside my home. When stressed or frustrated, I submit to the urge to "say the last word" during an argument. More often than not, the "last word" should be eliminated from my vocabulary. There are other times when the problem might be the tone I use to speak to my loved ones; in other words, it's not what I say, but rather how I say it.

The Bible has many lessons on how we should talk to others and the types of conversations we should be having with them. Here are a few verses to meditate upon concerning our speech:

• “Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning” (Proverbs 10:13).

• “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).

• “The lips of the righteous nourish many” (Proverbs 10:21).

• “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”
(Proverbs 15:1).

• “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity” (Proverbs 21:23).

• “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).

• “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:36).

If we hit the pause button on our lips and think about these instructions, we can live more harmoniously with our families, friends, co-workers, acquaintances…even strangers who cross our paths. More importantly, our testimony will not be tarnished by the use of careless words. Stop and think about the visual of "concealed lips" before you snap back with a quick response to someone in your "line of fire." Use words that build up, rather than tear down. You never know when your kind words may be life-changing for someone. Choose to sow peace with your words, rather than anger…my lips are concealed.