The Tongue

CrowsThe part of the anatomy that helps us to speak; often used to say unkind and unwise words as compared to being used wisely

Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled….    Horace

To talk without thinking is to shoot without aiming.  English Proverb

A man’s defeat lies in his tongue.   Persian Proverb

   Our tongue has potential to cause great hurt and harm. It is a powerful weapon. Most of us have had little training in learning to use it wisely. We are prone to want to get ‘our two cents worth’ into the conversation. We have said things that should not have said. It is easy to speak quickly and thoughtlessly. Our tongue often wildly and uncontrollably leaps before it looks or thinks. There lies much of the problem. It is also used way too often.

   The use of our tongue should be a matter of careful control and attention. It should be trained to think before speaking. If it actually thought before going into action, this would minimize ‘slips of the tongue.’ Of course it does not think, we are supposed to be thinking, not it. Maybe we should have an adjustable relay that would delay ten seconds before we could use it. The adage advocating biting your tongue before speaking is good advice. We should err on the side of caution; meaning, we should be very slow to speak anything that may be harmful or hurtful. Once we have uttered it, it is too late. When we utter harmful words, they are doing their damage as they erupt from our mouths. There is no delaying the damage, it happens instantaneously. 

    Our tongue should be used guardedly and cautiously or not at all. Sometimes instead of using it as a weapon, we use it to make absolute fools of ourselves. We make foolish comments, thinking people will be impressed with our words, but we say totally embarrassing and stupid things. A tongue is like a handgun, it should not be use it if we do not know what we are doing. We should keep it in its holster and use it very carefully. There would be less damage control necessary. We should also spend more time listening. Not enough listening is going on. People would likely credit us with being smarter and wiser if we spoke less and listened more.  

    The adage that advocates not saying anything if we cannot say something good is wise. Our tongue should be used prudently, or not at all. It should be used for good, not evil. It should be used with self-discipline. Most importantly, we should carefully think through our words before speaking. Speak fewer words and listen more.

Challenge: Is your tongue well trained? One of the wisest things you can ever do is to put the time and effort into properly training it. Any improvement in its control and discipline will manifest itself to you in great ways. You will find yourself saying fewer harmful and hurtful words as well as a reduction in making foolish comments. You will also become a better listener. Keep your tongue in its holster more than you do.

Wisdom: The best time for you to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust. Josh Billings

Spiritual: (NIV)

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  Psalm 37:11

But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.  Psalm 37:11

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.  Psalm 34:13

The tongue can be used for evil or for good. Our words are cheap in that they are easy to say. They are expensive in the damage they often do. We can use or words to bring people down or we can use them to life people up. At the core of what causes us to speak the kind of words we speak is what we have in our heart. Having and maintaining a spirit of love and self-control will help us to greatly improve the quality of the words we speak. The more that God dwells and lives inside of us, the less we will find ourselves regretting what we say. 

Prayer:  Help me to control the use of my tongue, to use it for good and not for bad.

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