Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
I’ll admit to you right here for the world to read that I have a serious problem with cursing. Once upon a time I was innocent with my expletives. I’d say, “Jimminy Crickets!” and “gosh darn.” And then I started working in a restaurant. By the time I’d graduated high school my responses to things that went awry or to not nice people weren’t so innocent any more. Up until recently I figured I just needed to work harder at stopping. But I was reminded that overcoming sin requires more than just “working harder.”
I read a devotional that convicted me of the root of my sin – the status of my heart. It shone a light on what was flowing from my heart — anger, pride, unforgiveness, lack of compassion, lack of self-control. Although James was spot on with his imagery of the tongue being like a fire, I realized that that fire is sparked by my heart.
My “ah ha” moment that day was how much anger I allow to swirl around in my head and in my heart when someone doesn’t act how I expect or when the world doesn’t stick to My Plan. Instead of compassion, kindness, love there’s *@%! A truly ugly use of my God-given heart and tongue. And a heart change can only take place with the help of the Holy Spirit. My gal pals know I’ve joined forces with the Holy Spirit to remind me of the fruits of the spirit whenever I leave my house (because I never seem to have a cussing problem in the quiet confines of my She Shed!). I cannot produce this fruit; I can only bear it because I am closely attached to the vine of Jesus.
Friend, the world doesn’t think cussing is any big deal these days. In the past, you’d never hear cuss words on tv or on the radio. If you’ve ever spent more than a few minutes at an elementary school – yes, elementary school – you’ll find our lax attitudes toward this sin have affected our children. But we are called as Christians to be different. To be transformed. We are to guard our hearts from taking in and spewing darkness. I, for one, take the pledge. How about you?
Holy Spirit, guide my choices today in what I take into my mind and heart and help me to return to the world the fruits of your Spirit – kindness, compassion, patience and most of all love. Amen