Loose lips sink ships. Not sure exactly what that old idiom meant but the basic message is clear and very true. There is great power in our words. Power to lift up and power to destroy.
Our conversation at Well Time this week at Firstfruits still has me thinking. It was about being impeccable with our words. The topic came from the book, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. The word impeccable was defined as “without sin.”
How do we sin with our words? Let me count the ways. Think of the last conversation you had. Were your words impeccable? Or were they despicable? Were there subtle hints of criticism, judgment, passive aggression, or anger? Did they leave the person feeling ashamed, guilty, insecure, or worthless? How easy it is to sin through our words. Oh, the power we have in our mouths.
And then there is gossip. It is so prevalent by the number of comments we had about it in our group, and so destructive. How often we find ourselves in situations where there is gossip going on and we don’t know what to do. Our options are limited. Or are they? What is the right thing to do? Tell the person to stop. In most cases however, that isn’t going to happen. We don’t have control over anyone else’s use of their words, but we can have control over our own.
One of the women in the group gave us a valuable tip on how to break the habit of destructive words. She heard it in a homily at mass. The priest said to “put love on your mouth.” Like physically touch your lips and imagine putting love on your mouth. Like a filter or screen. Every word must pass through that screen of love.
When I picture doing that I immediately thought of those oversized, bright red wax candy lips I used to wear when I was a kid. So when I am tempted to use words that I know will be destructive, I imagine putting on my wax lips of love. It makes me chuckle a bit and in that moment of visualization I give my mind a chance to regroup and my mouth a chance to save itself.
It really is working. Give it a try.
That is what I love about Well Time at Firstfruits. We have the best conversations about such relevant topics and come away with such practical solutions. (Can’t get more practical than wax lips!)