Friday, August 31, 2007

My Tongue Depressor

de·pres·sor [de·pres·sor] -noun
  1. a person or thing that depresses.
  2. Surgery. an instrument for pressing down a protruding part, as a tongue depressor.
  3. Anatomy. a. a muscle that draws down a part of the body, as the corner of the mouth.
    b. Also called depressor nerve. a nerve that, when stimulated, induces a decrease in activity, as a slowed heartbeat.

--dictionary.com

I was looking at Ephesians 4:14-16 the other day.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (NIV)

The "then" that begins this passage refers back to verse 13, when we reach unity and become mature.

So follow the process that happened in my heart:

I'm trying to plan a worship service for Breakaway. The topic is "We Grow in Christ by taming our tongues." The tangible symbol is a tongue depressor. Our theme verses for the year are the above passage. I have the task before me to write a skit pulling all these elements together.

I start with "taming our tongues" and "speaking the truth in love." Those two phrases have traditionally been (in my perspective) about gossip and slander.

Don't gossip. Dictionary.com defines gossip as "idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others." It associates the word slander with gossip: "gossip, scandal apply to idle talk and newsmongering about the affairs of others. Gossip is light chat or talk: to trade gossip about the neighbors. Scandal is rumor or general talk that is damaging to reputation; it is usually more or less malicious: The town never lived down the election scandal."

The Bible is very clear about participation in gossip: Timothy and Titus use the label "gossip" to describe what women shouldn't be, and couple the word with "malicious" in three places and "busibodies" in another.

Don't slander. Dictionary.com defines slander as a "malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report; words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another; an abusive attack on a person's character or good name; to utter slander."

What does the Bible say about slander? Ephesians 4:31 says to get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Titus 3:2 says to slander no one. 1 Peter 2:1 says to rid ourselves of slander of every kind.

Right about this time, the Holy Spirit says to me, "You've always thought of these verses concerning what you say about others to others. Consider these verses also concerning what you say about yourself to yourself."

Wow. Self-talk. I think immediately of a friend of mine whose life-message is the absolute necessity of---and freedom that comes from---telling ourselves the Truth about ourselves. So I ask her to share a testimony.

And I remember that song I've heard on the radio by Mark Schultz:

I’ve been hearing voices telling me that I could never be what I wanna be.
They’re binding me with lies, haunting me at night,
and saying there’s nothing to believe.
Somewhere in the quietness, when I’m overcome with loneliness,
I hear You call my name.
And like a father, You are near. As I listen I can hear You say,

"You are a child of Mine, born of My own design,
and you bear the heart of Life.
No matter where you go, oh, you will always know:
you've been made free in Christ. You are a child of Mine."

So I listen as You tell me who I am, and who it is I’m gonna be.
I hang on every word, knowing I have heard
I am Yours and I am free.
But when I am alone at night, that is when I hear the lie:
"You’ll never be enough."
And though I’m giving into fear, if I listen, I can hear You say:

"You are a child of Mine, born of My own design,
and you bear the heart of Life.
No matter where you go, oh, you will always know:
you've been made free in Christ. You are a child of Mine."

I think about all those verses that talk about the power of our tongues, only this time, I think about the way I talk to and about myself:

Psalm 34:3: Keep my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking lies.

Psalm 35:28: My tongue will speak of Your righteousness [which, because of Jesus, is mine as well] and of Your praises [I'm Yours, and You think I'm beautiful because I wear Jesus!] all day long.

Psalm 71:24: My tongue will tell of Your righteous acts ALL DAY LONG, for those who wanted to harm me [the enemy of my soul] have been put to shame and confusion.

Psalm 119:172: May my tongue sing of Your Word, for all Your commands are righteous.

Proverbs 12:18: Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 15:4: The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 18:21: The tongue has the power of life and death.

Proverbs 21:23: She who guards her mouth and her tongue keeps herself from calamity.

Proverbs 31:26: The godly woman speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Isaiah 50:4: The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary [me]. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.

Isaiah 54:17: No weapon forged against me will prevail, and I will refute every tongue that accuses me. "This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from Me," declares the LORD.

James 1:26: If I consider myself religious and don't keep a tight rein on my tongue, I'm lying to myself and my religion is worthless.

1 Peter 3:10: If I love life and want to see good days, I must keep my tongue from evil and my lips from deceitful speech.

When I consider all that, and try (!) to explain it to my husband, I am overwhelmed at how I've been in bondage because of my self-talk.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5: The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, our weapons have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought [about myself, my abilities, my worth, my value] to make it obedient to Christ.

And then the skit comes (Thank you, Crossroads and Michael!):

(Setting: Doctor's Examining Room: On a small table covered with a white sheet, Woman sits. Doctor enters.)

Doctor: How are you today?

Woman: Doctor, I'm hoping you can help me. I'm just not feeling good. I'm tired all the time, I cry a lot, and I feel crabby and grouchy.

Doctor: Well, let's see what's going on. (Doctor begins regular exam stuff. She listens to Woman's heart, checks her knee reflexes, and checks her pupils. As Doctor is examining Woman, she asks questions.)

Doctor: Are you eating well?

Woman: As much as I can.

Doctor: How are you sleeping?

Woman: Okay, but I still wake up tired. I'm not sure I'm resting.

Doctor: Are you exercising?

Woman: Three times a week, at least.

Doctor: Are you taking your vitamins?

Woman: Every morning.

Doctor: Hmmm. (Doctor gets out a tongue depressor; looks in Woman's mouth.) Open wide and say, "Ah."

Woman: Ahhhhhhhh.

Doctor: Well. (Gets a long pair of forceps and starts pulling imaginary things out of Woman's mouth. With each time the forceps leave the mouth, Offstage Voice says the following lines:)

(Forceps.) "You're not good enough."

(Forceps.) "You'll never measure up."

(Forceps.) "You're getting old."

(Forceps.) "You're a lousy example for your kids."

(Forceps.) "Your husband is going to find someone else."

(Forceps.) "You're such a fake."

Doctor: Okay. I see what's going on. I don't want you to be alarmed, but you have a very serious condition. It's something I see in patients often. It's treatable, but it needs to be dealt with right away, or it will eventually destroy you.

Woman: What? What is it?

Doctor: Your mind is infected with lies.

Woman: Lies? Those were lies? I had no idea.

Doctor: (nods head) I've pulled out the ones I can see, but without treatment, they will return. The only effective treatment is a daily dose of Truth. I'm going to write you a prescription for some Scripture and refer you to the Great Physician. Truth is His specialty. (Writes on a prescription pad.) I know it feels overwhelming, but there is hope. Truth in the hands of the Great Physician has a 100% cure rate. (Skit Ends)

1 comment:

Brittany said...

wow..thank you for sharing that with me