19th June 2012

Taming The Tongue

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you
may know how you ought to answer each one.”
Colossians 4:6 (NKJV)

Among the genes I inherited from my parents is one, I suspect, labelled ‘sneeze a lot’.  I do sneeze a lot and when a big sneeze is threatening to erupt, I have to stand still in case I put my back out.  I sneezed the other day, and bit my tongue instead. It hurt, it bled, and my eyes watered. I half expected my tongue to start screaming to be let out of such a hostile environment, caged amongst a mouthful of dangerous teeth, but, no, not a word.  Tongue shouldered the injury and carried on with it’s work!

My tongue is a vital part of my body. Without it I wouldn’t be able to talk or sing or eat or taste my food. The sensitive surface on my tongue protects me from swallowing unsafe food and also indicates my state of health.  Although my tongue has so many vital qualities benefiting my well-being, there are times when it seems to have a mind of it’s own, flapping around saying things it shouldn’t, before my brain has had a chance to assess a situation and respond appropriately.

The NIV Bible translation says in James chapter 3, verse 5, “the tongue is a small part of the body but it makes great boasts.”  And verses 8-10, “no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.”

In the film ‘Bambi,’ the young rabbit, Thumper, is scolded by his mother for saying something unkind. “What have I told you?” she asks.  Head bowed, Thumper sheepishly replies, “If you can’t say sumfin nice, don’t say nuffin at all.”  Wise words indeed.  Mother Theresa once said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.”

Focusing on Jesus’ command to love one another as I have loved you (John 15:12), trains me to think before I speak, to bridle my tongue, bite my tongue, hold my tongue, whatever it takes to control it.  Ephesians chapter 4 verse 29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Prayer
Merciful Father, please help me to use my tongue to your glory and to remember that, ‘a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.’
Amen

Study by Diana Hall