featured graphic for Pastor Mike McKay and his wife Kristi of Neighborhood Church during COVID-19

Weekly message from Neighborhood Church: What we say matters

Proverbs 29:11 A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

There seems to be a lot of people popping off these days. We read of rants online, see people honking, gesturing, and yelling in their cars, and angry aggressive people at rallies and protests. Now sure, there are many frustrating things happening all around us: restrictions due to COVID, political changes, continued social unrest, and personal issues of finances, relational struggles, and inner emotional turmoil. It’s like we are a shaken can of soda ready to explode. I was in the express line at the grocery check-out line and had exactly 15 items. Yet the person behind me went off and started yelling at me saying I had more than 15 items. She berated me at how inconsiderate I was. She spoke of how busy her life was and how unfair that I was making her wait and not following the rules. I wanted to explain to her my one bag of 2 avocados counted as one item, but said nothing as the people around her were snickering at her full vent. I asked if she wanted to go ahead of me, but she was too busy now, yelling at the checker to go faster and at the kind old lady who was in front of me handwriting a check! It was not a pleasant shopping experience for anyone in that line that day and actually her outburst was belittling, unkind, and hurtful.

What we say does matter. Words make a difference; they can bring healing or can cause great damage.

Proverbs 18:6-8 A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
Proverbs 15:4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Proverbs 18:4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.

With all this frustration and tension in our world, where do we find a safe place to process our inner turmoil? What we need is to find a safe place to release the pressure of those deep-water thoughts.

Proverbs 20:5 The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.

That’s why good friends, counselors, and journaling are good places to express how we feel. When we process how and why we feel the way we do, it helps and is a proactive measure to help us not to pop off. Because what we say does matter. James 3:2-12 in the Bible speaks of the power of the tongue, the dangers of words out of control. The biblical challenge is clear…

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Jesus said our words are a reflection of our heart.

Luke 6:43-45 For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Another way to say this last statement is to say ‘the mouth speaks that which fills the heart.’ It matters what we fill the center of our life with.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

It’s not that we ignore the difficulties of life, we should deal with them, talk them through and get help as needed. Then choose to fill our hearts with good, positive, wholesome thoughts. We will then be more inclined to speak out words that are helpful, kind, and build others up.

Church can help in all this. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We have a 9am live-stream gathering from our Cypress campus and another pre-recorded gathering at our Los Alamitos campus. At 10:30am, at the Cypress Campus, we have an in-person, outdoor gathering (Los Al has one at 9am at their campus). Our webpage has information on how to connect with us or you can find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Being careful with my words along with you,