I am not sure when or where I first heard this cute story about two little kids in church. It reminds me of my own sons and countless other children I have encountered in church services:
Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother Joel were sitting together in church. It was Joel’s first time in “big church,” and he was thoroughly enjoying his new worship experience.
Joel giggled, sang, and talked aloud. People began to take notice of the little boy’s exuberance.
Finally, his big sister had enough. “You’re not supposed to talk out loud in church,” she whispered with authority.
“Why? Who is going to stop me?” asked Joel with a brotherly challenge to his older sister.
Angie pointed to the back of the church and smugly replied, “See those two guys standing by the door? They’re hushers!”
Maybe I love this story so much because I can see myself in Joel. Even now, at the ripe old age of 57, I could use a “husher” to follow me around all the time. That is why I garnered a lot of edification and instruction when I read Deborah Smith Pegues’s 30 Days to Tame the Tongue a few years back. It is one of those books that needs to be read and reread, over and over again.
When I started reading the book, I imagine my husband secretly wished me luck on that particular 30-day adventure, and he probably wanted to remind me that he had tried to accomplish that task for more than 30 years without much success.
Of course, Pegues examines the entire third chapter of James, in which we are given a very in-depth lesson on the power of the tongue. Readers of James are told that the tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. We are also reminded that humans are sinfully apt to speak blessings with one breath and curses with the next. Truly, no man can tame the tongue!
If the tongue is impossible to tame, why bother trying? It sounds like a total contradiction. But that contradictory impossibility does not get us off the hook. As followers of Christ, we are still responsible for what comes out of our mouths. In fact, life and death are in the power of our own tongues. It is up to us to choose life and speak life!
So, what’s a wordy woman (or man) to do?
Well, the truth is we do have a “husher” given to us in the form of the Holy Spirit. And if we allow Him to, He can take the coal and cleanse our lips (Isaiah 6:6-7), so to speak. He can be the watch guard over our words.
But, we must first submit our tongues to Him. And we must be willing to recognize that His words are always truth, whether those truths are nice and fuzzy or harsh and uncomfortable. His voice will never speak lies.
Pegues discusses that fact in one lesson from her book in which she teaches about the lying tongue versus truth and integrity.
Now, I am sure all the math lovers out there are already aware that the word integrity is associated with the word integer through the concept of wholeness. I never really thought about that association until I read that lesson from Pegues.
Think about it! The whole truth is often an elusive matter. We often hear people claim that there is more than one side to every story. But for those of us on the side of Jesus, His words are all that matter. He is Truth!
I wonder if you are like me. I try really hard not to lie, but I have been known to stretch the truth or leave out some important details. And sadly, our culture, including many of the churches we attend are also increasingly reluctant to speak the whole truth. And in the process of watering down the truth and telling only half of the truth, God’s message loses its impact to convict, save, and change.
After all, half-truths are wholly and completely a pile of lies!
Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
In essence, God cannot and will not ever lie. Isn’t that the standard we should all strive to attain?
Granted, how we speak and when we speak must be filtered through His grace and mercy in His perfect timing, but we must proclaim His truth. And may we never “hush” speaking His words of truth, for they are life to all who hear and heed them.
John 6:63—It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Hebrews 4:12—For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.