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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Tongue Control

"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."

Proverbs 12:18

"A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue."

Proverbs 17:27-28

Ain't that picture priceless? Can't you just think of someone right now who that bull reminds you of? Someone who goes charging in to speak their mind- even when the counsel is not wanted? Someone who absolutely can't hold their tongue and absolutely missed their calling as the 'gossip columnist' of the week? Someone who can't wait to share the juicy misfortune of others? Someone who loves to tell all the gory details of their life situation and all those who have offended them? Someone who takes your prayer request to the Lord in absolute sincerity and then turns around and blabs it to every Tom, Dick & Harry? Someone like you? Someone like me?

Uh-oh. Is that too harsh to even consider? Okay- so maybe a lot of that first paragraph is worded in such an uncomfortable way that no one would take responsibility to be that bad...

What, however, does the Bible say? Is it just the busy-body's with too much time on their hands that are addressed in scripture? The Word instructs us over and over to bridal our tongue. We are reminded that a soft answer turns away wrath...that the fruit of believers is to show gentleness, kindness, and self control... to let the words of our mouth and the mediation of our heart be acceptable in the sight of a Holy and righteous God.

Are we building others up (whether it is deserved or not) in the sight of their friends and family- or are we tearing them down and destroying their reputation one conversation at a time?

Let me tell you a personal story. I had a situation occur a while back in which I decided to share something (with no malicious intent in my heart) to someone else. In all honesty- it wasn't my business, but it was interesting. A little while later I realized that my 'confidante' wasn't as concerned as I was with keeping this information between the two of us. I absolutely panicked. I had to call 'so and so' and 'so and so' and remind them that if this got back to 'so and so' that they would be devastated. I worried. I fretted. I told myself, "I'll never do this again!.

But, alas... as news comes about and seems so interesting to be shared... will my husband be the first to hear of it? Or can I control my tongue enough to keep it to myself- whether or not it would make good dinner conversation. A good rule of thumb- if I'm worried that my words spoken in secret might be 'found out'- then I need to say quiet. As the Bile says, 'even a fool is thought wise and discerning when he holds his tongue'.

We must also be careful not to engage in gossip either. Listening to someone else's words of destruction can be just as damaging as sharing them yourself. Being a willing party to another's hurtful criticism can fuel the fire and destroy the victim much more quickly. Instead, put a stop to it... don't nod your head in approval, but rather leave the conversation; change the subject or begin to interject kind and healing words about the individual in question....even if they don't deserve it.

Be challenged- dear friend...that even our most private of conversations are heard by our Redeemer. If someone has done you wrong, allow Him to take care of it. Even if it is "yours" to share- consider if it is worthy and uplifting to communicate or just feeding the lust of the flesh. Will God be glorified or the god of this world?

1 comment:

Renna said...

A very good Word! Though I've matured considerably in this area over the years, it is still something which occasionally rears it's ugly head in my life. We have to remain ever watchful for the tricks of the enemy!