Writing Prompts: Taming Your Tongue

Part 1: Is Your Mouth Guard Up or Down?

cartoon of man with foot in his mouth
Image: Real Life Dilbert

Have you ever opened your mouth only to quickly insert your foot by saying something inappropriate or embarrassing? Proverbs 13:3 says, “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” There are times when we speak with care and times we speak without consideration. Each has different consequences.

You can use your journal to monitor how you speak and what you say to others.

Writing Prompt

Each night for just a week, record words you said that lifted others up and words you said that were discouraging to others.

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Part 2: What Happens When You Use Your “Love Filter”?

Imagine you have a “love filter” built into your lips. Every word that comes out of your mouth, no matter what it’s about or to whom it’s spoken, has to pass through the filter, which covers all your words with love.

Ephesians 4:25 tells us, “Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Put on your love filter , watch how others respond, and journal about it.

Writing Prompt

What happens today when you use your love filter when speaking to others?

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Part 3: Chatty Cathy or Edifying Ed?

Researchers suggest that we speak an average of 7,000 to 20,000 words in a single day.

Take a moment to consider what kinds of words you use to meet that number. Are your words simply idle chat or are they edifying … filled with compliments … compassion … forgiveness?

Jesus said, “I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:36, NIV). Rather, we are to “Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV).

Writing Prompt

Today I spoke these words of love and life ___________________________ to ________________.

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Part 4: Timing Your Words – Are You Thoughtless or Thoughtful?

When you get angry, annoyed or frustrated, are you quick to pop off at people?

Proverbs 29:20 describes what happens when our words tumble out fast or are poorly timed. “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

Yet thankfully, the verse also implies that there is hope for the person who is deliberate and thoughtful with his words.

Writing Prompt

List situations when it is easy for you to speak before you think. How can you time your words more carefully or thoughtfully?

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Part 5: The Right Words at the Right Time

Recall a situation in which another person’s words spoke to you just at the right time. Perhaps it was encouragement at a low point … gratitude when you needed affirmation … confirmation when you feeling just a bit unsure.

Proverbs 15:23 says, “A person finds joy in giving an apt reply- and how good is a timely word!” (NIV) Well-timed words bring joy to both the speaker and the listener.

Writing Prompt

What motivates you to speak words of encouragement to others … and what can stand in your way of doing so?