Way back in the day, when I was in college, there were some lively characters within my group of friends and acquaintances. One of those friends had a phrase he would call people out on whenever he discerned there was some sort of insincerity or disingenuous talk. “Quit talkin’ out the side o’ ya’ neck!” he would say with some flavor. His phrase captures the psalmist when he exhorts the boastful person to not “speak with a haughty neck” (ESV).
Indeed, God will judge everyone on earth with equity, not showing favoritism. Evil speech he shall not tolerate. Instead of talking out of the side of our necks, the godly use their tongues in a different manner. “We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.” The way to avoid the proud words of the haughty person is to use our speech to express gratitude. Generous words and proud words cannot co-exist in the same sentence. Remembering God’s gracious works in the world and using our tongues to recount them has the effect of putting us in our proper place and shooing away the pride.
One way of expressing gratitude to God is to take a few minutes each day to pause and give thanks for the things you notice. If you take a walk, be intentional about noticing God’s creation and giving thanks for the specific things you see. At your workplace, take note of the blessings for which you can give thanks. When you are at home, notice the simple pleasures of being with family and be sure to give God praise for them. For, if we do not observe God in the common and the mundane, we will likely miss him when he shows up in the dramatic and the awesome.
Almighty God, you are the rightful Judge of all the earth. Today I forsake all proud and haughty speech, and, instead, give thanks to you for your mighty acts of salvation and deliverance in Jesus’ name. Amen.