Posted by: mikenicholsblog | November 12, 2017

our words

It has happened to all of us. An unfiltered statement rolls from our tongue and can never be retrieved. Just this morning, after my Bible reading in James chapter three, I remembered something that happened over twenty years ago. Someone had made statements that offended me and when I had the opportunity, they were given an ear full. To this day, I can’t believe the skewering I gave the person. How could I have said those words? All of us have those moments when our minds are overwhelmed as we think, “How could I have said that?” I am sure you can relate with me as you remember some of your hurtful or silly unguarded words of choice. Recently, I read some classic, “I wish I had never said that” statements quoted from Illustrations Unlimited, by James Hewett. Enjoy!

H.M.Warner of Warner Bro. Pictures in 1927 said, “Who wants to hear actors talk?

Grover Cleveland in 1905 proclaimed, “Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote.”

A Michigan banker advised Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in a motorcar with this classic, “The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty.”

For all of you “Gone with the Wind fans,” think about Gary Cooper’s words. “Gone with the Wind is going to be the biggest flop in Hollywood’s history. I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling flat on his face and not me.”

Do any of those statements make you feel better about some of your own “I can’t believe I said that!” mis-steps? Periodically words exit our mouths unfiltered. My concern is not our silly or funny faux pas, but the selfish, hurtful and unloving comments that do harm to others. James, as he addressed believers in chapter three of his epistle, has a lot to say about the tongue. Note the two verses below in evaluating our struggle with the tongue.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.
James 3:9-10 (NIV)

Even as Christ-followers, we are apt to use words that deny the very life of Christ within us. Why? From my perspective, two thoughts are paramount. First, I have concluded that most of the time when speaking, we value ourselves more than the person receiving our words. When you and I place high value on our listener, our words will reflect it. Secondly, I don’t believe we place enough emphasis on the source feeding our tongues. Reflect on Psalm 19:14: May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. A heart yielded to His Word and focused on others will definitely affect our words.

I believe Christ’s focus was always on the person standing in front of Him. He placed high value on them with a perfect heart. Our hearts are not perfect, but our goal should be to value the hearer with a Christ-like heart of love. Make no mistake that what we say, and how we say it, affects everyone we come in contact with. Our words should always benefit those who listen to us. Sure, an unfiltered word will inevitably slip out, but placing the highest value on the person in front of us will have an undeniable effect.

Make an intentional decision today to place high value on each person we come into contact with. Your listening will be better, your speaking will be other-centered, and the results will be pleasing to the Father. And if it works today, repeat it tomorrow!

I am glad that women vote, actors speak, we have automobiles, and my wife gets to watch “Gone with the Wind”.  And we are so blessed to have a God who cared so deeply for us that He became fully one of us, and gave us such a clear picture of what it is to live a Christ-like life. His model of speaking should also be our model … other-centered!  So much of how we treat others is reflected by the tongue. I wish the words of twenty years ago wouldn’t have been said, but I (you) have a choice with our words today.


  1. Especially loved this one thank you!

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