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Week Four | How to Have a Kosher Mouth

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Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus Online Biblical Study
Reading Assignment – Chapters 7 & 8
Listen to the Audio version | Reading Time: 4 minutes

It is a rare moment for me to say that I’m speechless.

But I met my match in this assignment to discuss wielding the power of my tongue. I stared at an open Google doc with fingers poised to type that wouldn’t move if I’m being completely honest. Usually, when I read a passage for a writing assignment, memories flood to the surface, and the Holy Spirit shows me a poignant example from my life to share.

When I considered my very un-kosher mouth, memories flooded in alright. But to share these things would have re-lit sparks in a forest that is experiencing new growth. So, I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to me something personal that wouldn’t leave any more scorched earth.

How to Have a Kosher Mouth

And reveal, He did. 

In Western culture, few people would disagree that slander, motzei shem ra, or outright lying falls into the category of sin. But other misuses of the words we say, as brought up in chapter seven of Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, are more elusive. As my words reflected this expansion of understanding of the power of my tongue, it was like a crossing guard flipped a flashing stop sign right in front of my mouth.

As Lois stated on page 94, “Jesus’ priority too was on what comes out of our lips rather than what goes into them.” This teaching found its way into my mind and heart, within about 5 minutes after walking away from that blank Google doc.

In the midst of an ongoing drama in our family, I quickly found myself whining about the character and choices of one of my children. Mid-sentence, my tongue seized as I realized my lashon hara, evil tongue, wagged away. Previously, I hadn’t considered telling negative truths, described on page 96 as “unnecessary and damaging,” to be rolled into the description of a lying tongue. 

Pointing out others’ downfalls behind their backs are careless fires that can be stamped out with careful evaluation. We are meant to lift and edify each other up with our speech. To do any less falls short of reflecting Christ in us.

We are also called to control our eye-rolling, smirking, and all other body language that speaks volumes even when no words are uttered. The “dust of lashon hara” damages reputations just as readily as a misspoken word. 

I don’t know about you my friend, but eye-rolling sarcasm seems connected directly to my unmoving tongue. Within about 15 minutes of walking away from my writer’s block, I rolled my eyes about said child and thus caught myself in unchecked sin. Mercy!

Lois’s quote from page 98, as we consider how difficult it is to change this behavior, is worth holding onto, “Because nothing except our own vigilance is stopping us from uttering words that will wound loved ones and shatter our dearest relationships.” This includes uttering those unspoken words portrayed through body language as well.

Guilty of stealing knowledge? Yeah . . . me too.

One other slippery slope Lois discussed in this chapter, convincing me to evaluate my habits, was learning about geneivat da’at: stealing knowledge. How many times have we looked at a product in a store but clicked on a popular online sales website to have a slightly less expensive version delivered to our doorsteps within a few days? Or invited someone we didn’t like to something only after we found out they couldn’t come? 

I appreciate the candor of this chapter and leave Lois’s words convicted to manage not only my tongue with more precision but my body language, mind, and actions. We have much to learn from Jewish sages that expand our understanding and guide our actions. 

Sisters, let’s strive to be like Lois’s friend who decided to watch her words and later “felt as if she had gone on a tone-up and workout plan for the soul.”  Let’s spell out and speak blessing to those we interact with our words—or non-verbal actions—and live out these words from Psalm 34:12-13, NIV: Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.

1. Having a kosher mouth is challenging!
2. Our words as well as body language and actions can lead us down the wrong path—or the right one.
3. It’s important to keep our tongues and lips from destroying another person.

Which of these were most convicting to learn about and why: the evil tongue, the dust of the evil tongue, or stealing knowledge?

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Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus | Lois Tverberg

A 7-week study that will challenge you to follow Rabbi Jesus more closely by re-examining His words in the light of their Jewish context, to provide a richer, deeper understanding of His ministry, compelling us to live differently, and to begin to understand why His first Jewish disciples abandoned everything to follow him, to live out His commands.

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Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg - Fall 2022 Online Biblical Study | Intentionalfilling.com

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