Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Why does it seem to be easier to tear down a home than to build it up? Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: No matter how well you can cook and clean and sew, no matter how clean your house is, no matter how beautifully decorated your home may be, you can destroy it all with one little instrument called the tongue.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Friday, March 9th.

What would happen if you were trying a new recipe, but you didn’t measure anything—you just threw in whatever amount of ingredients you felt like? It would be a disaster. If flour and sugar are worth measuring, how much more important is it to measure our words? Learn to speak carefully as Nancy continues in a series called The Counter-Cultural Woman, based on Proverbs 31.

Nancy: What if I were to tell you that for the past week we have had a little recorder going in your home, and it’s picked up everything that has been said in your home in the past week—everything your kids said, yep, everything your husband said, and everything that you said. We’ve managed to obtain the tapes, and we’re going to play them on Revive Our Hearts for everyone else to hear. Do we have any takers? I don’t think so.

You know, it’s a sobering thing to me to realize that everything I say is being recorded—that God is recording. Isn’t it sad that we’re so much more careful about the words that we say outside our homes than often we are inside our homes?

Proverbs 31—we’ve been looking at that passage for what seems like, well, it’s been weeks, and I’m encouraging you, if you haven’t started, to take that passage and to begin to read it every day for 31 days. If you’re in the middle of taking that challenge, don’t give up. Stay in there and let God continue to speak to your heart through that passage over these weeks.

We come to verse 26 today where we’re told that this virtuous woman opens her mouth. Now, this is the first verse that says anything about this woman talking. That should tell us something. This is not a woman who talks too much. She’s not known for her talking.

There are other qualities that she’s known for—her servant’s heart, her compassion, her tenderness, her diligence—but when people think of this woman, it’s not what she talks about that’s the first thing that comes to mind. “She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.” 

I love this verse. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say I love this verse. What I really mean is, I need this verse, and it’s a verse in Proverbs 31, probably more than any other, that I come back to over and over again. “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law [or the teaching] of kindness”—wisdom and kindness.

Now, let me just give us a little context here. First of all, we’re talking about a woman who’s being described primarily in the context of her home. Now that’s not the only place she is, but she’s a woman whose life centers around her home.

We’re talking here not just about the way she talks when she’s at church, not just the way she talks when she comes to a Revive Our Hearts recording session, but the way that she talks when she’s at home with her husband, with her children, or some of you, perhaps, with roommates, or living with extended family members or in other living situations, but this is the way she talks in her closest circle of friends and relatives.

So many of us talk in ways outside our homes that we don’t think to talk inside our homes. How can I encourage? How can I speak words that lift up? I find that when I go to visit my family—I live alone, but when I go to visit my family, I find that often-times I don’t have the common courtesies with them that I do with people outside my family.

Then there are things I do say in the context of my home that I would never think of saying outside the context of my home—in the way that I react. If a guest comes into my home and spills some liquid soap on the carpet, or whatever, and they’re feeling very terrible about doing it, I’m just, “Don’t worry about it. It’s no problem.”

Let somebody in my home or in my workplace or somebody that I’m close to get into my space or annoy me or do something that I find—that bothers me—and I’m going to be quicker to point it out, quicker to be critical, quicker to speak words that are not wise or kind. This is a verse that we’re probably quicker to apply outside our homes than we are in the place where it matters most, and that’s where we live every day.

I want to say that no matter how many domestic skills you have, no matter how well you can cook and clean and sew, no matter how creative you are, no matter how efficient and organized you are in your home, no matter how capable you are in your workplace or in your home environment, no matter how clean your house is, no matter how beautifully decorated your home may be, you can destroy it all with one little instrument called the tongue.

It’s a scary thing to think what damage we women do with our tongues, and that’s why I have to go back to this verse over and over and over again and say, “Lord, make me the kind of woman who opens my mouth with wisdom and on my tongue is the law or the teaching of kindness.”

Now this requires . . . To be this kind of woman, it requires self-control. Our problem is that so often we don’t have self-control, so we just say whatever we think. Especially when we’re with people that we know really well, we just let down our hair, and we’re not so conscious about what we’re saying. We live in a day and age where it’s encouraged to just be open; just be authentic; just say your feelings.

Listen, the fact that you think it or that you feel it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should say it. Now, I’m not promoting dishonesty. I’m not promoting hypocrisy, but I’m saying there are some things I feel that I don’t need to say.

You say, “But my kids do it.” Where are your kids learning to do it? Now, your kids need to be trained, and I’m not saying the fact that they are unrestrained means necessarily that you are. I’m going to tell you, if you want to develop children who have self-control with their tongues, one of the things that will help a lot is for them to have a mom who lets the Spirit control her tongue.

Here’s a woman, “She opens her mouth.” It’s a sense that she does this deliberately. She opens her mouth when she has something to say that needs to be said. She’s a woman who speaks words that are measured. They’re thought through before she says them. Her mouth isn’t always open.

Now if we’re going to be women who speak with wisdom and kindness, that means we have to have a wise, kind heart because our words reflect our hearts. You don’t just wake up one morning and have a wise, kind heart. That has to be cultivated. It has to be tended. It has to be developed.

Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). So what comes out of my mouth? If we were to take that recording that I told you we had in your home last week—you say, “Well I didn’t mean all that stuff.” You know what’s really sad? It all came out of the heart. It did.

It reflects my heart, so if I want my words to be different, I need to say, “Lord, I need a different heart. I need You to change my heart.” That may require repentance. It may mean acknowledging first to the Lord and then to your husband, to your children, “I’ve not had words that are wise and kind, and it’s been a reflection of a heart that’s angry or impatient. Please forgive me,” and allowing the Lord to change you.

He can, and He will give you that kind of heart. It doesn’t come overnight, but as we allow Him to mold us and shape us and change our hearts, then what comes out of our mouths will reflect the repentant, kind, wise heart that God has put in us.

Leslie: What kind of words have been coming out of your mouth today? What do those words reveal about your heart? Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back to tell us more about speaking carefully. She’s teaching through Proverbs 31, which has so much to offer us as women.

Proverbs 31 will give you wisdom about time and money. It will help you think ahead and organize your home, and as we heard today, it will help you speak wisely. Nancy Leigh DeMoss covers all these topics and a lot more in her teaching series called The Counter-Cultural Woman.

She’s walking verse-by-verse through Proverbs 31 and drawing out insights I’ve never heard before. I think you’ll find the same thing as you listen. To get the most out of this teaching, order the series on ten CDs. You can also order the complete series on one MP3 CD. It contains the exact same material, but the files are designed for your computer or iPod.

Either way, you’ll hear longer teaching sessions from Nancy. We have to edit down her messages for the radio, but you can hear them complete when you order the CDs. Look for The Counter-Cultural Woman at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1-800-569-5959. Let’s get back to Nancy, Proverbs 31, and The Counter-Cultural Woman.

Nancy: Well, we’re on a subject that always makes me a little bit uncomfortable, and it needs to. In a sense, I hope it makes you uncomfortable because we as women need a constant reminder from God’s Word about the words that we speak.

We’re looking at Proverbs chapter 31, verse 26, which for me is one of the most convicting verses in this whole passage. It’s talking about the way that she uses her tongue. “She opens her mouth with wisdom,” the Scripture says. This virtuous woman, this woman of excellent character, when she does open her mouth to speak, it’s with words of wisdom, “And on her tongue is the law, [or the teaching] of kindness.”

Some of you are homeschooling your children. Any of you who have children are teaching your children, whether you realize it or not, and you’re teaching them a lot. You’re teaching them a lot about life, but you know, you’re teaching them more sometimes when you don’t realize you’re teaching than even when you’re sitting down in a more formal, structured time to say, “This is our class-time.”

When you teach your children, is it with the teaching of kindness? When you correct them—which, they need to be corrected, by the way. That doesn’t mean that you don’t ever say hard things to your children. But when you correct them, when you point out things in their lives that need to be changed, do you do it with kindness?

If you’re reacting to their actions, you’re going to find yourself not teaching with wisdom and kindness, but if you can step back from the situation and get God’s perspective on it, then you can be controlled by the Spirit of God. You don’t have to be lashing out. You don’t have to be angry.

You don’t have to be saying things you’ll wish you hadn’t said because you’re under the control of God’s Spirit. That’s why it’s so important that before we start our day, before we open our mouths to speak to others, that we first get into God’s presence and let His Word come into our hearts, into our minds, so that when we open our mouths to speak, what we say will be controlled by what’s filling us, which is the Word and the Spirit of God.

You need wisdom as a woman. How do you get it? Well, the Scripture says, “The LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding,” Proverbs chapter two (verse 6).

You want to be able to have wisdom to speak to others? Then you’ve got to get into this Book and get this Book into you so that you know how to speak a godly word in due season. You know how to speak words that will minister grace to the hearer and will minister to the need of the moment.

If you want words that are kind, you need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. What’s the fruit of the Spirit?—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness. You say, “My children are acting in such a way. These people I work with are acting in such a way. It’s just so hard to respond in kindness.

It may be impossible for you, but it’s not impossible for God. His Holy Spirit lives inside of you, so He’s able in those moments to give you a response that is one of kindness.

Now let me say as I said before in other sessions, that doesn’t mean you’ll never blow it. You will blow it. I blow it. Now the problem is, once we’ve said it, we’ve said it; but having said it, go back and make it right.

Go back to the Lord and say, “Please forgive me. That wasn’t kind. That wasn’t wise. That wasn’t true. That wasn’t necessary,” whatever is the principle of God’s Word you violated, and then if you’ve said it to someone else, whether it’s your mate or your children or a fellow-worker or somebody at church, go back and make it right.

Humble yourself, and you’ll find, if you humble yourself every time you sin with your mouth, you’ll start to sin less frequently with your mouth. Stop before your speak. Think and edit before you speak. That may just mean saying less.

A woman wrote me recently, and she said, “I was convicted about my ‘little sin’ when I read the transcript of one of your programs on Revive Our Hearts.” She said, “Right now there’s some tension between my teenage daughter and me, and I have a tendency to use too many words.” We can all relate to this, whether you have teenagers or not.

She said, “I never really considered my over-use of words to be sin, but now I see that too many of them surely lead to sin. From now on, before I utter one word to my daughter, I want to consult with God for the few, right words to say. I believe this insight will help to restore a right relationship between my daughter and me.”

See, this is important, and that’s a wise woman. You know what else that is? That’s a repenting woman. That’s what we all need to be—repenters—not just past tense, “I repented when I got saved,” but repenting today when I sin with my tongue and with my lips, when my spirit and the way in which I say the words isn’t appropriate. If I say too many words—repenting, saying, “Lord, fill me with Your Spirit afresh. Give me words of wisdom to speak."

By the way, I just referenced the way that we say what we say. Especially in our homes, that tone of voice is really important. Kindness is not just what you say. It’s how you say it.

The danger with speaking too quickly is that oftentimes we speak out of the anger of the moment, the irritation of the moment, without stopping to let God first settle our hearts. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to stop and count to ten before we open our mouth—but to say it with a tone that is kind.

Listen, your children will be far more responsive to your instruction if it comes with a kind tone. I know that it’s real easy when you’re with these same people all the time to start to get in a tone that’s nagging, that’s unpleasant, that’s critical, that’s demanding, that’s controlling, but that’s where we need to let the Lord give us His Spirit so that when we speak, those words will reflect that kind tone.

I quoted several sessions ago a passage about Sarah Edwards, who was the mother of eleven and the wife of Jonathan Edwards—who was a leader in the First Great Awakening.

This writer says that, “Sarah made it her rule to speak well of all so far as she could, with truth and justice to herself and others. She was not prone to dwell with delight on the imperfections and failings of any, and when she heard other people speaking ill of others, she would say what she thought she could with truth and justice in their excuse or divert the slander by mentioning those things that were commendable in them.”

In other words, if she heard somebody saying something unkind about someone else, she would try and change the conversation or divert the conversation or to say something encouraging about that person.

“Thus, she was careful of everyone’s character, even of those who injured and spoke evil of her. She could bear injuries and reproach with great calmness, without any disposition to render evil for evil, but on the contrary, she was ready to pity and forgive those who appeared to be her enemies.”

What a commitment—to speak well of all! That’s what the Scripture says we should do. In fact, Proverbs tells us that if you are the kind of woman who is contentious and critical with your tongue, that you will drive your family to the place where they would rather live on the roof or in an attic or out in a desert by themselves than to live in the same house with you.

I’ve been reading through the book of Proverbs recently, and this thing about contentious women has really been striking me—argumentative women, always debating, always arguing, not opening their mouth with wisdom and with kindness. You can drive your husband and your children and your friends away if you have that kind of spirit and that kind of tongue, so before you speak, ask yourself, “Is what I’m about to say wise? Is it worth saying? Does it need to be said?”

You say, “My family won’t even know who I am if I start living this way.” Well, that’s okay. It will have an influence on them, too. Is it wise, and is it kind? Will it edify? Will it build up? Will it refresh my family members? Will it encourage them?

It’s important that you do say things that do encourage. Don’t just think, “Boy, I’ve got to go home, and now I can’t open my mouth. Now that I’ve heard this session, I can’t say anything else in my family.”

No, there are things you do need to say. Someone came up to me on a break just now and spoke encouraging words about what God was doing through the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. They stopped. They spoke words of encouragement. You need to do that with your family.

When’s the last time you affirmed—you praised—your husband? You need to praise your children when you see qualities in them that are worthy of praise—just simple words like “thank you.” “I appreciate that.” “Thank you for serving me in that way.” “Thank you for blessing me in that way.” “I really appreciated it when you did this.”

You know, you do so much more instruction, effective instruction, with that kind of language, than with words that are critical and tear down, so if it doesn’t meet those qualifications, if it’s not wise, if it’s not kind, don’t say it. Don’t say it.

Leslie: I think we’ll all be able to use that wise advice from Nancy Leigh DeMoss today, maybe within the next hour. While you’re learning to avoid words that tear other people down, would you also do something else? Share Revive Our Hearts with a friend. Use your words to tell them about a program that’ll build them up.

When I get together with a group of women, conversation naturally moves to topics like: “Who cut your hair?” “Where do you find clothes for your kids?” and, “What pediatrician do you use?” Well, along with making recommendation in hair stylists, doctors, and stores, why not tell your friends where to find practical, biblical teaching that will change their lives?

At ReviveOurHearts.com you’ll find a lot of helpful resources for spreading the word about this program.

Growing up, did you feel like your mom had eyes in the back of her head? That’s actually a mark of wisdom, and we’ll hear about it on Monday. Now, here’s Nancy to pray that we’ll learn to speak words of kindness and wisdom.

Nancy: Father, we really, really, really need Your help in this. We can’t do this on our own, and we’re around people who know just how to push our buttons. Often it’s the people we live with that are where it’s the hardest for us to apply this.

Lord, it’s not so hard for us sitting in this group, being with women who love the Lord and have a common interest in spiritual matters. It’s not hard here to speak words of wisdom and kindness, but I know some of these women are going back into homes where they have family members who don’t speak with wisdom and with kindness, where things are being said to them that are critical and unkind and hurtful.

It’s going to take all the power of Your Holy Spirit for those women to speak back words that are wise and kind, but you can do that in us and through us. We pray that you would for Jesus’ sake, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version.

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