Monday, August 25, 2008

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say!

It's back to school time here at our house. I can hardly believe that the summer is over. I have to admit that I am glad because we were no longer on a schedule at all. No schedule and six children means trouble. Loud, chaotic, messy, trouble!

I had begun to notice that we were getting on each others nerves. This is not a good thing, especially since I home school - no time alone in sight!

I prayed that God would show me what was causing all of the tension. He is so faithful to answer us when we ask.

This was His answer:

Matthew 5:37 "But let your word be, Yes, yes; No, no. For whatever is more than these comes from evil. "

God was telling me that we were talking too much! Well, not exactly, but He was saying that our responses to each other had become laden with too many extra words, sarcasm.

When I stopped to think about recent conversations, I was amazed at the truth that God had spoken over my family! We have become quite sarcastic to one another. Oh how I am grateful that He loves us enough to point out our sins.

We had an immediate family meeting and I told them what God had showed me. Then I began to give examples. After only two examples, they chimed in, showing me that they really understood what I was saying. Now the hard part (I'd love some advice, if you have any) how to change this bad habit?

The only thing that I can think of, is to catch the extra sarcastic words and write them down on our dry erase board. Then, we can begin to recognize the problem and fix it.

It has taken the entire summer to create this bad habit, so I am sure it will take some effort and time commitment on our part to correct it. I will keep praying because harmony in a family is critical.


Amie said...


Thanks for stopping by the blog to visit! :)

I love this post. And I totally needed to hear this today. Love how God used you to set me straight!

Thanks for the reminder!


sailorcross said...

First, I want to thank you for the very kind and encouraging comment that you left on my blog post from yesterday.

I know that is why God has given me such a supportive and strong spiritual family--to surround me and love me when my own biological family fails to do this.

But, it is hard--so hard. So, thank you for encouraging me!!

As for the sarcastic remarks--I used to be quite the sarcastic person myself until God pointed out to me that my words were hurting others. God gave us one mouth and two ears which means we should listen twice as much as we speak.

I think your idea of writing down the sarcastic or hurting remark is a good one--and then possibly discussing why it is hurtful, how this made the other person feel.

I read once that while we may not remember the "exact" words of something hurtful that someone has said to us, we will always remember how we felt when those words were spoken.

In my prayers,


On Purpose said...

Thank you Sonya for sharing a "family" teaching moment. These are so powerful and helpful to the rest of us!

Kris said...

This is so true. We're very bad about this, too. I may have to add that scripture verse to our memory box this year.

Thanks for you comments on my blog about adding my niece in. Another child definitely changes the dynamics and it was only through much prayer that I finally decided to make the offer. I hope that God will continue to bless my obedience with more days like today (well, with the exception of my own dd's bad attitude! lol).

Have a great week!

Chatty Kelly said...

The best visual I've seen on this is a speaker who squirted out toothpaste and said "these are our hurtful words." Then said - can you put the toothpaste back in the tube? Neither can you take your words back.

How to stop? Prayer, practice, punishment, praise. Not necessarily in that order.

"B" His Girl said...


I just stepped in between my two boys insulting each other. I like how you teach in those moments. Well established habits are hard to break. Let us know how the eraser board works. Thanks for stopping by. B

Starr said...

Funny I would read this today. I told my six year old this morning that I wanted him to go the entire day with no shouting and no complaining. He is having a really tough time with that request! But, When I give him "that look", he realizes his mistake and calms his voice. I grin on the inside as I see him trying so hard!
Loved this post!
Love ya,

Bonita said...

Funny thing, but I've noticed that same sarcasm at our house recently, including coming from my own mouth!

Two things I've felt led to do are #1 deal with the root issue. For me personally, that has been subtle anger that is coming out in sarcastic marks. Also, I think I've been pretty negative and hard on people lately in my thoughts and it's showing up in my speech. So, first I need to deal with the thought life and the heart condition if I want the right things to come out my mouth.

#2 Focus on speaking kindness. At first I thought, "I better read a bunch of scriptures on controlling the tongue and really make some goals in that area," but the Lord quickly reminded me that to focus on something magnifies it so I'd be better focusing on Him and practicing speaking kind, loving words rather than trying to stop the flow of sarcastic ones.

Those are the things that I'm attempting to do at my house. Also, I'm starting with me and setting the example before I deal with anyone else's sarcasm.

Let me know how things go with your crew.

Eve said...

Knowing you have a problem means you are half way there to fixing it. I don't have any doubt you will all work it out now.

Sue J said...

I actually suggested to my daughter that we videotape her so she could hear her words and the tone she uses (as well as the expression on her face). She doesn't seem to realize what she's doing.

I like Bonita's comment about getting to the root of the problem. I'm sure I have taught my daughter to be sarcastic in moments of weak parenting. But, to focus on re-teaching through being a better role model--adjusting my tone and word choice (even when I'm ready to fly off the handle!)--is more productive for all of us.

There is a fine line between sarcastic humor and sarcasm for the sake of bringing someone down, and our children can't discern that. (Can we do any better ourselves?)

Truth4thejourney said...

I completely agree with Bonita and Sue J.. Good parenting really does come from the heart and changing Mom and Dad is always the first step!

Yes my hubby and I agree that we have been the ones setting this sarcastic tone, and for me it is a root of anger! I am glad when God exposes those roots, then they can DIE!!

We've had a good 2 days now. We've set it as a goal with a reward at the end of the day if they don't use harsh words. It's a ticket that earns a priviledge like 30 min. of computer time. But it's working!

I'm loving all of this advice! Thank you all!

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

So amazing that I would read this today. I purposely took time this morning to look up verses on "anger" and controlling the tongue. Completely agreeing with Bonita, I would repeat what she said, but I also feel like it has to do with so much unstructured "free" time during the summer. My husband pointed out three weeks ago that we needed to go back to school since attitudes and slothfulness were beginning to set in, but I went screaming the other direction with that one. I just wasn't ready to go back immediately. Isn't it good to know that we're all in this together.