Better slip with foot than tongue. Benjamin Franklin
Some of us do not speak nearly enough, while others of us are prone to let our tongues rattle. If it is better to err one way or the other, it is better for us to learn to hold our tongue in check. Too many of us, too much of the time, use our tongues to be hurtful and disrespectful. The old adage says it well, “If you cannot say something good about someone do not say anything at all.” It is better to literally bite our tongue to keep it quiet.
Most of us can relate to the nature of unruly kids. They are not monitored or disciplined by their parents. They run around unchecked, are bothersome, and say and do inappropriate things. They are spoiled and need to be taught self discipline and self control. Too many people’s tongues can be compared to the behavior of unruly kids. To some degree, kids being unruly can be understood as a part of the growth and development process. However, adults with unruly tongues are very lacking in self control and self discipline. They have not learned to exercise sufficient thought and restraint over the behavior of their tongues.
Children are expected to mature and to exercise proper self discipline and self control as they grow older. Learning to have control of the tongue is a part of our growth and maturation. Allowing the tongue to utter words that are inappropriate, hurtful, or untruthful; or to gossip and do other undesirable activities reveal a lack of character and maturity. To take this a step further, failing to use the tongue for good, to build, encourage, uplift and to say worthwhile things is an indication of how far we have to go in our growth and development. Those who lash out, verbally abuse, or in any way allow their tongues to be destructive instead of constructive can be said to score rather lowly on the growth and development scorecard. If we excuse our behavior as being the same as everyone else’s, this is also an indication of our lack of maturity.
It is better to bite our tongues than to use them for destructive purposes. One of the greatest challenges we have is to learn to use our tongues for good and worthwhile purposes. It is a lifelong pursuit that requires constant focus and dedication and commitment to personal growth.
Challenge: Your tongue is connected to your heart and brain. What it says is an indication of what you are either thinking or feeling. If you do not exercise proper control, it is likely to say things that are best left unsaid, and in many cases left un-thought as well. Your tongue is like a loaded gun. It must be handled with care. It is better to think carefully and wisely and speak very carefully. Hurtful and unwise words once spoken have done harm.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Ps 32:8
His God instructs him and teaches him the right way. Isaiah 28:26
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Psalm 34:13
The more we have love in our hearts, the less likely we are to use our tongue to hurt others. The more we look to God to guide and teach us, the more we will be inspired and empowered by a spirit of love in how we think, speak and act. Our hearts and minds will learn to operate the way they were intended. Our tongue will be used to love, to uplift and to encourage. The Bible has much to say about the improper use of the tongue.
Prayer: Help me to learn to control my tongue; and better yet my heart and mind.