Thursday, August 31, 2017

Keeping our Tongue Subdued

Dale A. Robbins explained: “It has been said that the “tongue” is one of the most exercised muscles of our body. It has been estimated that in a typical week, the average person will speak enough words to fill a 500-page book!” Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers stressed, “The first mark of true religion is gentleness of the tongue, just as the contrary, blasphemy, is the most damning fault of all.” These two statements are significant because they speak volume of the reality and consequence of using our tongue. Also, it is worth noting the tongue never gets tired of talking and even when the person is asleep it speaks. Moreover, there’s no tongue transplant, but other parts of the body get replaced when needed.    

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From a Christian perspective, subduing the tongue is a discipline one must learn repetitively. Somebody said,

It is a great art in the Christian life to learn to be silent. Under oppositions, rebukes, injuries, still be silent. It is better to say nothing than to speak in an excited manner, even if the occasion should seem to justify a degree of anger. By remaining silent the mind is enabled to collect itself and call upon God in secret prayer. And thus you will speak to the honor of your holy profession, as well as to the good of those who have injured you when you speak from God. (Source Unknown)

Another individual explained,

Maybe you’ve heard the old saying “You have two ears and one mouth—use them proportionately.” Almost all of us could stand to listen more and talk less. Rather than being compelled to tell everyone we meet everything we can fit into the length of the conversation, we should remember that one of wisdom’s best qualities is the ability to hold the tongue. (Source Unknown)

Moving from being talkative to subduing one's tongue indeed is hard work. It is making a daily decision of becoming a person of honor. It is where the Scriptures provided fundamental principles to follow on a day-to-day basis. First, let’s guard our mouth against speaking careless words. Matthew 15:11 described, “A man is not defiled by what enters his mouth, but by what comes out of it." Sharing unsolicited opinions without value to the other person may worsen the situation. Someone said, “The problem today is that those who know the least know it the loudest” (Source Unknown). Next, let’s hold back our tongue from sweet talk and insincere flattery. Psalm 34:13 emphasized, “ Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” Here’s something I learned worthy of sharing for additional knowledge:

The next time you receive a letter that carries the word "Sincerely" above the signature of the writer, pause a moment and think of the origin of that word. It was first used as "sincerely," meaning "without wax," by ancient sculptors to mark a flawless piece of work. Wax was then commonly employed to conceal defects, to patch a chipped nose, a poorly shaped finger, etc. Sincerely is too honest a word to be used loosely, but it is a good word when consciously employed (Source Unknown).

Finally, let’s safeguard our heart from any “root of bitterness” described in Hebrews 12:15. According to the Apostle John, it manifests in this way: “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). Alfred Auston wrote this realistic description of utilizing our tongue as a tool of blessing or animosity:

When you speak, speak clearly and naturally. Say what you mean and mean what you say; be brief and sensible. Words should drop from the lips as beautiful coins newly issued from the mint, deeply and accurately impressed, perfectly finished, neatly struck by the proper organs, distinct, sharp, in due succession and of due weight.

T. J. Bach shared from Pearls from Many Seas an excellent portrayal of the dynamics of cause and effect whenever our tongue is involved:

A careless word may kindle strife,
A cruel word may wreck a life,
A bitter word may hate instill,
A brutal word may smite and kill,
A gracious word may smooth the way,
A joyous word may light the day,
A timely word may lessen stress,
A loving word may heal and bless.

From the above descriptions, may we choose to bless not hurt others with our tongue.

Let’s talk again!