When You Need a Recall Button for Your Mouth

by Karen Ehman February 10, 2020
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“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45 (NIV)
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Have you ever thought about the myriad ways we can talk to each other?

We can do video calls on our cell phones. Or hop on our computers and hold online meetings. And of course, our phones allow us to talk even while we’re in a remote location or traveling far away.

One of my favorite ways to talk to my friends is using a phone app that acts much like an old-fashioned walkie-talkie. It enables you to speak in real time to someone else who has the app. Or, if you happen to be busy at the time, the app holds the message from the sender until you have time to open it and listen.

This particular app has a feature called the recall button. So, if you leave a message for someone to retrieve but then change your mind about them hearing it, you can recall the message. They will never know what you said, and you can leave a different, better message instead.

A close friend of mine happens to use this button a lot.

The other day, she explained how she often talks too fast, or doesn’t think things through before leaving her message. As a result, she decides to recall the message and try again. Then she joked, “Now, if only I had a recall button for my actual life!”

You know, she might be on to something!

I think back to the many times I’ve regretted my words. Maybe I spoke something in haste, or I was careless in my word choice and sent an inaccurate message. But usually, I spoke in anger or frustration and, as a result, regretted my words.

Honestly, the real problem isn’t in the speaking. The problem is in the storing.

Today’s key verse states, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45). The loose translation? You are going to speak what you have stored.

If you store up resentment toward someone, it may come tumbling out one day in angry words.

If you store up bitterness about a past hurt, you might find yourself suddenly spilling caustic criticism.

If you store up unforgiveness in your heart, it may bubble to the surface and show up in unkind speech.

You are going to speak what you have stored.

To reduce the chances of spilling out unsweet speech, we need to continually go to God and ask Him to reveal any destructive feelings lurking in the dark corners of our hearts. Surrendering these corrosive and unhealthy feelings to Him can prevent us from spilling out words we later regret. Preaching this little, one-sentence sermon to ourselves can also help: Don’t say something permanently painful just because you’re temporarily ticked off.

When we make it both our prayer and our aim to speak words that are kind, we have less need for a recall button for our mouths. Instead, we’ll find ourselves sprinkling sweet speech around us, improving our relationships, and preventing a boatload of regret.

Father, help me store up that which is good in my heart and keep me from allowing evil thoughts and feelings to take root instead. I want my mouth to spill goodness when I speak. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Matthew 15:11, “It’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth — this defiles a person.” (CSB)


Need more help watching your words? Check out Karen Ehman’s New York Times’ bestselling book, Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All.


As you prepare your heart for the upcoming Easter season, instead of giving up chocolate or soft drinks, why not give up using your words wrongly? Karen Ehman is hosting a group that’s pledging to watch their words and encourage each other daily called Doing Lent Together. It’s based on her 40-day challenge devotional, Zip It! She would love to have you join in! Click over to her blog for more details.



Is there a time in the past when you wished you had a recall button for your mouth? How can you handle similar situations differently today? Let us hear your thoughts in our comments section!

© 2020 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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