The tongue is a wonderful part of the body. My first thought about my tongue is of the delicious foods it lets me enjoy. Life would certainly be a lot less, shall we say, tasteful, without it. (Sorry I couldn’t resist.) As a child, I distinctly remember using my tongue in another way. It seems I had a bad habit of sticking it out, as I not-so-fondly remember standing against the wall with my tongue stuck out for what seemed like forever. After a few times of that, I stopped.
Not a lot of thought is given sometimes, I’m afraid, to the way we use our tongues as it pertains to other people. There really is tremendous power in the opportunities we have concerning our tongues. Think for a moment about something someone said to you in the past that you have never forgotten. It might be a thought that makes you very happy, or unfortunately it might be something that was very hurtful. Possibly, it invokes feelings that go along with the words; that’s the power I’m talking about.
I have a little plaque hanging by my sink, so that I will see it frequently. It states, “Lord, keep Your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth”. When I saw that for sale, I knew I had to get it for myself. If God has taught me something in the past several years, it’s that I need to stop talking and pray more, and lots of times, pray before I talk.
Let’s think about a how our tongues do harm. We all have so many different people we talk to on a regular basis. I would venture to guess that we keep our tongues in check around most people. I remember one time when my kids were a lot younger a neighbor boy did something, and I just responded withs “Oh, that’s okay”. Now, had my own child done whatever it was this boy did, I would have responded in a much harsher fashion. I realized that I talked to the people I loved the most, the worst. That was a hard reality to face. Unfortunately, in times of anger and frustration, things come out of our mouths that do damage to those to who the words were spoken or yelled at. Sure, later we might say we are sorry, but just like a tube of toothpaste you accidentally squeeze too much out of, it doesn’t go back in the tube, and those words can’t be taken back either. Potential damage done. Did we mean to? Of course not, but does that mean it didn’t happen? I don’t think so.
Now think about the way I handled the situation with the neighbor boy. If we can be that way to people we aren’t even related to, then surely we can strive to be that way with people we are close to. Just as sure as harsh, hurtful words do damage, words of forgiveness, kindness and thoughtfulness can show grace and love to people, especially those we love, when offenses or wrongdoing has occurred.
Sometimes in certain situations, saying nothing is the kindest response. Take for instance, your husband, child, relative, or friend wrecked their car and they said it was because they weren’t paying attention. Obviously if they said that, they realize it was their fault. Occasionally, our first response is to throw a bunch of questions at them, questions that will do nothing except make the person feel even worse about what happened. Unless the questions are absolutely necessary, it’s probably going to be best to just not ask any when it will make no difference in the situation as it stands. Our minds are very curious when it comes to the affairs of others sometimes, and if we aren’t careful limits are pushed and feelings get hurt.
Let me share a Bible verse from the book of Ephesians 4:29. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers”. Since that pretty much speaks for itself, I won’t elaborate.
Another verse I have found helpful is Psalms 141:3, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips”. If this is an area that you know you have trouble with, I assure you you can get the upper hand. Pray that verse. I had to pray for God to help me to know when to close my mouth or to help me stop and think before I speak. Of course, I still don’t always get it right, or I let my mouth get the best of me, but not nearly as often as it used to happen. I have to admit it took me a long time to even realize there was a problem. Those of you that are much younger can save yourselves some years of feeling guilty and get on top of it now and let wholesomeness be what flows from your tongue!
Until Next Time, God Bless