57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. 59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” 61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” 62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.
Sometimes the most foolish things come out of my mouth: Sometimes words that hurt people; Sometimes words that create barriers to understanding. I hate it when that happens. Jesus said that what comes out of my mouth expresses my heart (Matt 15:10-20) – more often stupid than intending to hurt, but none the less dangerous (James 3:1-12). It seems like it might be a good thing if God shut my mouth, like Zechariah, until I have something to say that comes from obedience to God.
Instead, God lets me choose what I say. That can be a problem: its an opportunity for me to choose those stupid, hurtful, harmful things. But its also an opportunity for me to choose words that bless, encourage or speak for God. There are still plenty of times that I choose badly, but every time I choose to speak in obedience to God it’s an expression of my love for him. Every time I choose to speak encouragement its an expression of my love for the people God loves. And every time I choose to hold my tongue when something harmful is lurking there, I choose for God and his way.
Father, give me words that build up, encourage and, like Zechariah, cause people to praise you. I choose you, when I speak and when I keep quiet.
Written by David Cornell