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Day 13: A gentle word…

by on March 21, 2011

Wow, it’s really hard to keep up with this on the weekends.  Christina was on call on Friday, and we had a pretty busy weekend.  But no excuses, I was slacking off.

I had a chance to reflect on the words that do (or do not) come out of my mouth this weekend.  I have a tendency to hold my tongue more often than not.  That is to say, I am more comfortable not saying anything when I’m not sure of whether or not it’s a wise thing to say.  This has worked out for me for the most part, but I think that sometimes, it has proved to be my undoing.

Some verses that speak to this (no pun intended):

A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. (Prov 15:1)

A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit. (Prov 15:4)

He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles. (Prov 21:23)

And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. (Jas 3:6-10)

The last two verses seem to suggest that I would be better off not saying anything.  However, the first two verses actually encourage speech, it’s just the kind of speech that comes out that is under scrutiny.  When we exercise the gift of speech that we have been given, we should seek to make our words ones of grace, gentleness, and healing.  When we begin to allow our natural tendencies to take over, our speech will begin to become slanderous, hateful and harsh.

James uses an illustration of a salt water spring vs. a fresh water spring.  I really like this analogy, because of what it represents.  If you were to have a cup of fresh water and a cup of salt water, you would only need a few drops of the salt water in the fresh water cup in order to ruin the “freshness” of the fresh water.  However, no matter how much fresh water you pour into salt water, you will always be able to taste the salt.

We must be equally aware of how powerful negative speech can be.  We say one hurtful thing, and no matter how many good, healing, and graceful words we pile on top of it, that one negative word still has an effect on who we are and how we relate to the world around us.

To be sure, it is a tall task to rein in the tongue, but we should be diligent and continue to try.


From → Lent

  1. Hmm… makes me think… Many believe that I am quiet and reserved but I like to think that I say some pretty wise things from time to time. I do, however, say some rather prideful things on occasion which I regret I cannot take back.

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  1. Day 14: The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God « The Wong Chronicles

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