You Said What?

You Said What?

February 21, 2017

“What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” Luke 12:3 (NIV)

Devotion Graphic

I wasn’t sure why, but I just knew the texts I was receiving were never intended for my eyes.

Suddenly I received a call from my daughter: “Mom, are you getting my texts?” she asked, a bit panicky.

Yes, I was. Madi’s phone was receiving my texts, while my phone received hers. We both had the same reaction: Oh no! What conversations were we in the middle of that we wouldn’t want the other to read? What texts would others send that we might feel embarrassed for the other to read?

Somehow our cell service had crossed our phone numbers, and until they could figure out what was going wrong, there was no way to straighten out the problem.

I’m guessing you haven’t experienced this exact same situation, but maybe you’ve accidently forwarded an email thread to the wrong person. Perhaps you’ve had a phone conversation overheard that should’ve been private. Maybe you wrote a note that a particular person should’ve never read.

When I came across today’s verse in my quiet time, I was reminded of Jesus’ words: “What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” (Luke 12:3).

Nothing is ever truly private. Especially in this time when everything and anything can be seen on social media — all we do and say has the possibility of going to an unintended recipient. Especially when we speak unkind words.

Jesus commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves, (Matthew 22:39), but when our emotions want to take over, this can be difficult. In the moments when my anger is hot or my heart is hurt, I struggle most to put self-control into practice. That’s exactly when today’s verse gives me an added reason to choose my words carefully.

When I’m tempted to speak — or type — in anger, I can simply ask myself a couple of questions:

If this conversation went from private to public, would feelings be hurt?

If the person I am talking about heard what I said, would I be embarrassed?

While all of us are human and certainly prone to make mistakes, Jesus’ words give us reason to be careful with our words: “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known” (Luke 12:2, NIV).

I was so grateful that during the phone fiasco no embarrassing texts transpired. I pray that by following the Holy Spirit’s lead that will be the case each and every day.

Dear Jesus, I want to love others the way You love us all — unconditionally. My words are a reflection of what is in my heart, I know. Holy Spirit, empower me to guard my words so I never have to be embarrassed when they are brought into the light. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (NIV)

Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.” (NKJV)

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If today’s devotion resonates with you, you’ll appreciate Karen Ehman’s newest book: Zip It: The Keep it Shut 40-Day Challenge.

Visit Lynn Cowell’s website for “5 Ways to Use Our Words for Good.”

With each text you receive and each call you take today, decide to only say words that could be “proclaimed from the rooftops.”

© 2017 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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  1. Thank you for the reminder to always purpose in our hearts to only say things that we wouldn’t be embarrassed for everyone to hear.

  2. Am extremely humbled to be reminded to tame my tounge,to be mindful always,
    of that which comes out of my mouth.

  3. There is a story that goes: ‘ The message you read today was to correct you; not for you to correct others’. This is my story today. We think what we do is not seen or heard. Or the old belief where we are justified by that persons actions; to speak about them. But we are not. Love. Whether true or not – our words reflect how we understand love. I dont deserve the love God gives me. So I must remember this. When you younger and you make really big mistakes; hind-site hurts. It sucks really. It is amazing what you think is OK to do or say when you think no one knows. The devil hides in the dark. He kills the light there too. In todays life it is said’ oh its your business’. And passwords, apps to hide things and more are encouraged. I have learnt; If you cannot do it for all to see, there is something not right. If you cannot say it out loud for all to hear; it is wrong. Everything I have ever done or said that I have had to keep aways from others – has never turned to be Gods way. Gods way is light. Light doesn’t bring out glory to you. It illuminates you as you are for all to see. This hurts. That is why we hide in the dark – that is what the devil wants.

  4. I used to tell my kids they shouldn’t write anything on social media that they wouldn’t want to see in tomorrow’s newspaper headlines. Now that fewer people read newspapers, I changed it to “don’t say anything on social media that you wouldn’t shout in a crowded hallway.”

    May the words of my mouth (and my HANDS) . . . be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14).

    • Joy Barnes says:

      Shirley you are such a delight. I enjoy reading your comments.

    • Amen! For us all …

    • Love this Shirlee! As a school counselor, I used to tell my students at school, they should not say, write, or post anything they would not want their grandparents to see. Something about that would usually catch their attention! Most did not want to disappoint their grands which shows we grandparents do have some degree of influence we may not always recognize. Have a blessed day! Deborah

  5. Thank you Lynn. I needed this today. You are so right when you said “nothing is ever truly private”. I have to remember Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. NIV….now my version “Put a lock on my mouth”. I have been shocked at people who I thought could be trusted with my personal feelings and then to later find out they turned on me. The older I get I tell God, “it’s just me and you Lord,” and tell him EVERYTHING. (He already knows it). I’m learning it is safer that way. God does speak back to me through his word and to my heart. ~Lisa~

    • Lisa, I needed my own devotions so much today. Last week, I said words that really hurt my kids. Two kids; two different times. Neither of them were intentional, yet it was my own words that brought the hurt. So, yes Lord, put a lock on my mouth today!

  6. I’ve recently become ill and was working two jobs, and have had to quit. My husband is working part time and we just moved into an apartment with our children. We have bills to pay and rent and we have no idea where the money is coming from. Our car is about to get repossessed. I was telling my husband we need to have faith but inside I’m full of fear. I don’t how eveythibg is going to work out and where the money is coming from. We have asked a few churches for help and they have no funds either. I’m trying to be strong for my family. I’m trying to have faith and I’m praying that I will get answers soon. my husband isn’t saved and Hes said some unkind things to me about the fact that I’m not able to help support the family . My self wants to lash out at him, but I remember psalms 19:14 and proverbs 31. I want him to see Jesus in me. Thank you for this devotional it’s just what I needed in my time of need.

    • Melissa, I will remember you and your family in prayer.

    • Lifting you up in prayer, Melissa.

    • Melissa – First prayers for health and healing. Your response resonated in my heart this morning. Fortunately my family has not had this happen, but I know others who have and I am always awed by their faith. I truly believe God will provide for you and your family. There are many agencies that are there to help, but so many times you just have to get in touch with the right people. Have the churches redirected or pointed you to anyone? Does your power or utility company offer special assistance? Also there should be social workers within the health system who should at list have names of resources. These are just a few ideas I know others have tried. I will pray deliberately for you and your family.

    • Lord, We know that You are Melissa’s provider; she is not. I pray that You will show up mightly on behalf of this family and use this trial to show her husband what an amazing God you are. Do what only You can do, God. Amen

  7. This hits home. I don’t know how many times I have shared things I shouldn’t have with people I thought I could trust and caused hurt in the long run.

  8. Godonlyknows says:

    Would you say it to Jesus before you said it to someone else? This is one thing that needs to be reminded if you have a Christ like faith. Would Jesus want to hear it being said? Then why are you texting, speaking, or telling someone else?
    I keep saying, anoint my head, anoint my hands, anoint my feet, anoint my tongue, and anoint my ears Oh! Lord! Let me only hear, see, know, and feel your presence.

  9. I would appreciate prayers today. This afternoon I will be having a tough conversation with my boss. I will be stepping away from some major responsibilities to make room for what God wants me to do next.

    • Lord, thank you for empowering Kati with the courage and bravery she needs today to make this move for You. We ask that her boss will be receptive and bless her in her new journey. Amen

  10. Tehelia Brown says:

    This message wentry straight to the heart. I realized that as I’ve gotten older I’ve used my words as a weapon against those who hurt, and not in a good way. I realize that I have the power through Christ to speak life and anything I say is a reflection of my heart. So to say that’s not what I really mean after saying something harsh is a lie. I choose today to speak life not death in any situation because to bear good fruit is prosperous for all of us.

    • Thehelia, You are precious! Thank you so much for your humility.

      I was just thinking yesterday about the saying, “I was just kidding” after we have said something mean. It really is a passive-aggressive move, isn’t it?

      Lord, make us like you: kind, gentle and good in all we say. Amen

  11. i needed this so much today. Thankful that your able to speak your heart in a way that touches us. Blessings and Prayers following Luke 12:3

  12. Oh my how this hit home today! As a teacher I am often caught up in the drama between teachers, students, parents, etc.; however, since I travel often I have been able to stay neutral most of the time. I was so disappointed yesterday when some students were discussing placement in my class (I teach gifted), and brought up a discussion they had in class recently. The discussion was the result of a parent and child discussion and was very much untrue. I was devastated! As the adult I redirected them but as a Christian and mom my heart was broken. The mother has essentially told her son that it is me, the teacher, who picks and chooses and since my son didn’t get along with her oldest (talk about a drama filled story), I decided he shouldn’t be in my class. This not only hurt me, but also this child and others in the conversation. My first response was anger, then sadness and wanting to send her an email. But I had to hand it over to God and let Him take control. I pray I responded to the children appropriately and that even if they did not take my advice in not discussing it further, the words I used were kind and respectful toward that mother. Words are definitely hurtful and once they’ve been spoken, they can’t be retracted. Praying for God to control my mouth and everything that leaves my lips!

  13. Thank you for this devotion this morning. I needed to hear it and be reminded to ask the Lord to put a guard over my mouth.

  14. Thank you for this post. I’ve been thinking a lot about my words and it just so happens my son and I have been receiving the same texts and nothing embarrassing has popped up but oh my how it could have!

  15. Thank you very much for great devotion! Good reminding to control our words!

  16. Wow! What a great reminder. Thanks so much for the self-check. It’s easy to think my teens need to read this, but I need the reminder too! Blessings!

  17. I definitely struggle with this, thank you for this timely and gentle reminder lynn, much appreciated!

  18. Thank you Lynn, for the reminder and encouragement to watch my tongue. I am struggling with mine constantly lately. This was very helpful for me!

  19. Joan Porter says:

    This is so timely, it blew me away today when I read it! I had a very hurtful “accidentally sent” text sent to me that was talking mean about me to another person yesterday. It broke my heart in a million pieces! Upon discovering that the person had mistakenly sent it to me, she further hurt me by trying to “defend” her comments?! I have a beautiful and close walk with my Savior Jesus. I am deeply hurt and trying so hard to lean into Him for His perfect wisdom in this situation. The hurt is particularly difficult because this is from a family member whom I cherish and would have never, ever dreamed woul act this way behind my back nor towards me. I pray that my Father in heaven will use this situation for His good and His glory, despite my sad and hurt feelings. I haven’t the directions from Him yet as how He wants me to respond to her now trying to apologize….literally within an hour or so of sending the hurtful message by mistake. I sure could use prayers for wisdom and courage. ?

    • I am so sorry your heart hurts. Dear Jesus, bless Joan with your comfort. Wrap your arms around her. Grant her the gift of forgiveness. Give her wisdom in any further communications with this member of the family. Amen

    • Merle Nursten says:

      Joan she you said you felt sad that really stood out for me. What helps me is to take a careful look at the other person, where they are at in their lives, their hurts, their relationships, upbringing….countless things to consider..and you will usually find that things are said by other people from a place of fear! Its often a motivating factor when people say unkind things and this time round you were the unlucky recipient. You could look deep and find ‘your part’ in what they said, although after there is none, but when and if you can possibly see where this persons fears are coming from, it helps the forgiveness process. And yes, something good can very definitely come from this if you ‘react’ from a point of grace and love…and yes, I know its painful but we have Jesus as an example. I only say these things from me having to to do it often! Xx

  20. Thanking Him for giving me this verse through you today. Needing to speak with my teen girl about just this issue today and praying my words are His. God’s timing is perfect! Thank you.

  21. Thank you for this reminder. I hate gossip and I can sure get critical when I hear it. Then God will come to me in His most intimate way and remind me that I also gossip. Today I’m reminded of the times I cut and sarcastically talk about people. Even people I love and care about. It will usually be with someone close like my spouse or even a really close friend (in secret). But today I’m asking myself if it’s constructive or am I just enjoying this time of picking them apart. Yes. I have to ask if I enjoy it. Am I feeding the flesh?
    Thank you for such a hard word and I thank God that I receive it.
    I love the scriptures you included. I will be speaking these words over my life.

  22. My husband (which we are in a season of struggle) had gone on a vacation without notifying the kids leaving the kids feeling abandoned had FINALLY texted me upon getting back home. I immediately text my best friend to pray for me that I do not blow up in response to him…. Today’s devotion surely came at the right time.
    We are needing much prayer for the both of us to always say the right words and what HE truly has in store for us

  23. Thank you for this sobering reminder, Lyn! It is so true that in this day and age, it is easy to “overshare.” My husband and I have a little rule when talking together about family or friends: If I wouldn’t say it in front of the person, to their face, I shouldn’t say it at all! It is hard to do sometimes but it is the same way I would want to be treated. I am thankful that if we just need to “vent”, those Heavenly ears are always listening, and always a safe place for us to come undone and let go of all our worries and frustrations. I’m committed, too, to being a person who speaks life, who doesn’t tear down. Thank you for your words of helpful encouragement! ~Laura Jane,

  24. Thanks for the great reminders today Lynn!
    Bless you!

  25. Great Reminder! Sometimes, even going back and rereading my own texts I feel that little Still Small Voice giving me a check inside. Truly, in today’s instant world, we all needed this timely reminder to pause and think about what we type, text, or post.

  26. Good reminder and I needed to read this too.

  27. What a timely reminder, as this I something I still struggle with daily. Thank you for the message.

  28. Lyn,
    Thank you so much for today’s message. I think I am pretty fortunate that I only have one person in the world who I have to “bite my tongue” over. The problem is that person is really in our lives to stay. I am not always good at keeping my thoughts to myself, or just not having them at all. I really have to pray about it a lot.
    I have read certain scriptures in an effort to curb my emotions and my tongue. I am going to memorize this
    scripture…..I really needed it. I appreciate the many times that God has given me guidance through
    Proverbs 31. Your work matters!!!

  29. I’m so heartbroken over this as I think about the gossip I’ve shared and the turmoil I’ve created with regards to my mother-in-law. I’ve read books with regards to this relationship and thought I’d learned so much to understand the dynamics enough to be able to give her grace and take what she says at face value, but I still talk about her critically with my sister-in-law. We both want to be better about this. And I’m living proof of what cultivates in the heart does indeed come spilling out of the mouth and even one time unloaded all of my negative feelings on her to her face and it caused a terrible argument. I feel so vindicated by gossiping about her. It “confirms” or “give me permission” to be angry and hold grudges and I don’t want that anymore. I spend so much time dwelling on her faults. This was a sobering and humble reminder to guard my heart from gossip because it compounds he anger and eventually spills over. I never want to ever experience the type of argument we had ever again. I have to forgive her. That’s what I need to shout from the rooftops – forgiveness.

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