I find it interesting that God put our eyes, ears and mouths right on top of our bodies. He didn’t put them where others wouldn’t see them, but they are right out in the open. To me, with them being right up there beside our brain, these three things rank high on the importance scale. Even when one can’t see, hear or speak for some reason, God seems to have given them sharper senses in other ways to accommodate as He understands their importance.
I remember when my daughter was younger; she had a cat, Punky, she drug around everywhere she went. One morning, her dad had just gotten out of the shower and before dressing, was standing in front of the mirror shaving. I could hear Jamie toddling down the hallway with Punky hanging from under her arm, telling her she was going to stop in the bathroom a minute. Before I could warn her that her dad was in there, she flung open the bathroom door. I heard her gasp as she met her dad face to face in his birthday suit, then you could hear the door slam shut. Without missing a beat, Jamie continued talking, “I’m so sorry you had to see that Punky at such a young age. It’ll be OK,” as she and Punky climbed the stairs to her bedroom!
Although we’ve all seen things in life we wish we could erase from our minds, we also see things with our eyes that tell us someone is in need, to beware of certain circumstances, or even lead us home from work on a long, exhausting day in the office. I’ve heard it said that God made a point when He gave us two ears and two eyes but only one mouth. Was He sending us a message to listen and look way more than we speak? I find that if I use my ears and eyes more before I speak, that I’m not regretting my conversations as often as I do when I speak first. I am often upset after I’ve had a conversation with someone that maybe I said too much or even failed to say enough when someone needed encouragement or needed to hear the truth from a trusted friend. We can use our mouths to do great good or we can also be very hurtful with our words. It’s very important to be wise in how we use it!
We live in a world of entertainment and iPods and I often see people jogging around the neighborhood oblivious to what’s going on around them because they are pumping music or other noise into their ears through their electronic devices. I’ve heard people say they can do both–hear what’s going on around them as well as hear their music, but I would beg to differ on that. I remember one time when my father-in-law was in ICU dying and our music pastor came to visit us in the hospital waiting room. We had a new song we wanted him to hear so we passed him some headphones and he listened. As the song went on, he began to catch the words and the tune and started to sing along with the lyrics. This is a man who had a great singing voice and made his living with it. However, as his ears were covered with the headphones, he was not able to hear his own voice and as he sang–somewhat loudly–off-key, to the point we were all hysterical with laughter. He had no idea why we were all finding humor in the situation.
I wonder if when we don’t take the time to listen in our everyday lives, if our speaking doesn’t in fact sound exactly like our pastor that day. It was a life lesson for me that no matter how important what we have to say might seem, if we haven’t used our eyes to read the Bible and access the situation at hand, and taken the time to hear the facts, it might come out sounding like we’re all off key and have no idea what we’re saying. In fact, people might even laugh hysterically at how stupid we sound even when we are well-intentioned.
I’ve always told my kids, “Garbage in, garbage out.” If we allow our eyes and ears to see and hear things that are not edifying to God, invariably, our speech will reflect the same. However, if we focus our eyes and ears on the things that God is directing us to see and hear, what comes out of our mouths will typically honor Him and there will be little regret of our words. You can even go so far as to have your ears plugged up listening to good things–Christian music or famous sermons–that you aren’t hearing the cries for help around you in real life.
So this week’s message is simply, “Take heed to what you’re watching and hearing, so that when you speak, others will listen and be glad they did.” I pray for God to open your eyes, unplug your ears, and help your words be His words rather than useless noise to those in your path. Taking that advice, I think it’s time for me to shut up! I’ve said enough, now it’s time for God to do the rest!
James 1:19 (NKJV) my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.
Mark 4: 9 (NKJV) “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”