Cockroaches and Such

The long dark hallway was unfamiliar, so I stuck close behind my friend as we made our way to the kitchen, trying to step as quietly as possible to not wake up the household. When she flipped on the kitchen lights, I was startled by something I’d never seen before. Long black shiny bugs went scampering everywhere. It looked like there must be thousands. They were milling around in the open trash can, running over the counters, across the floor. Apparently we’d disturbed them.

With the lights out, the roaches were comfortably scavenging without notice, but once they were in the spotlight, they took off at lightning speed going for cover!

That was my first encounter with that kind of night creature. I was probably ten years old and I remember being horrified by the thought that thousands of gruesome, crawly, sinister looking intruders, were milling around through the house during the hours we should be sleeping. My friend acted as though nothing was out of the ordinary. She didn’t seem to notice the bugs and didn’t even mention them as she slipped across the kitchen to grab a bag of chips for us to munch on through the night.

My friend was oblivious to the disease-carrying-beetles and showed no reaction to their presence at all.

That scene is embedded securely in my memory and I get flashbacks almost any time I walk through a dark and unfamiliar home late at night. I’ve never encountered an army of pests quite that large, but I’ve had a few run-ins with nocturnal critters through the years.

The sad thing is, I’m realizing I’m a little like my friend when it comes to ignoring gruesome night crawlers.

I have some ugly garbage-dwellers that I’ve ignored.

My focus this year on “Decreasing” and “Exalting Christ” has brought things to light that I didn’t even realize were hiding under cover. Starting each morning by asking the Spirit to open my eyes to how I’m more prone to self-exaltation rather than Christ-exaltation, has put a spotlight on some ugly, creepy-crawly creatures that apparently have been running loose without my notice.

The ugliest creature that keeps “running for cover when the light goes on” is that same old pest I’ve struggled with before. My mouth. I talk way too much. Always have.

The Spirit has been gracious to bring conviction through the years and the Word has challenged me:

[box]“When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” (Prov. 10:19)[/box]

Have you heard about the time I went on a “tongue fast”? I was a young mom, and I became so disgusted with my inability to control my harsh words that I determined to just “be quiet” for three days. My children were old enough for me to explain to them why I was “holding my tongue.” Thankfully my daughter was able to read my quickly scrawled notes when I needed to communicate.

By God’s grace, I’ve grown some in the years since the “fast,” but there are still days when I find myself wishing I could tape my mouth shut!

How about you? You may never have literally taped your mouth shut, but could your tongue use a little taming?

Today, why don’t we start by reading through James 3:1–12 together?

After reading this passage, do you think the problem is the tongue or the heart?

Jesus has a pretty strong view on the matter. Read what He said in Matthew 12:34–37 and Matthew 15:18–19.

These passages seem to indicate that the real issue is our heart rather than our tongue . . . or could it be both?

I have some ideas on this and also suggestions for taming this unruly animal. But first I’d like to hear from you in the comment section below, and then please check back and we’ll continue looking into the matter of the tongue tomorrow. See ya then!

Image courtesy of aopsan/


  • wilma

    Hi Kimberly, in my experience in life, the mind go first and follows your heart then your tongue .Why I say that because before you say it your MIND is already in the process of thinking what you will about to say, but then your heart will analyzing it if its profitable to say it or not then your tongue will say after . Coz once you say it and its not properly oh know it will be a totally mess.

  • Barbara J. Lange

    All I can say is guilty as charged. Things can be going so well, and then I can’t believe what comes out of my mouth and the ‘tude’ that goes along with it. Wow, where does that come from? I need more time with Jesus! Thanks, Kim 😀

  • Nontle

    Dear Kimberly,
    Thank you for this post. I spoke to my mom about my tongue this morning, I was crying because I desperately want to control it. It’s something that I have been dealing with since I was teenager. When I am frustrated or feel misunderstood, I lash out in anger and say the meanest and hurtful things that I soon regret. This is what my boyfriend said to me last night “I find it ironic how godly you sometimes come across, while you don’t mind to smite with a sharp tongue.” That hurt so deeply because it is so true. I want to change and I want to be a good wife to my future husband and set a good example for my unborn children.

    Once again, thank you!!!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Wilma ~

    Yes, James 1:19 is the word that needs to direct my tongue!

    “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;”

    Thanks for taking time to leave a comment 🙂

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Barbara, good to hear from you!

    Yep, more time with Jesus, that’s the key 🙂 Hope all is well with you and your wonderful hubby ~