Minding The Tongue
Feedback from a close respected & valued friend propelled me on August 1st, 2023 to be increasingly mindful of the words and volume emanating from my mouth for the remainder of my days. Aspiring to be considerate and gentle ("Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do." .. "Let your gentleness be evident to all." -- Philippians 4:5 ) mindfulness of tongue is in order.
Fruits of the Spirit -- Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Goodness and Self-Control -- need regular cultivation. Keeping silent & humbly composed to learn others' experiences, ideas and habits, remaining objective, curious and open require constant watering and practice.
It's no wonder Biblical wisdom abounds regarding our strongest deadliest human weapon.
"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." -- James 1:19
Ephesians 4:29 -- "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."
Proverbs 16:24 -- "Gracious (Pleasant, Kind) words are like honey -- sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."
Proverbs 18:21 -- "Words kill, words give life; they're full of poison or fruit -- you choose." "The tongue has the power of death and life, and those who love to talk will have to eat their own words."
James 3:8 -- "...but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison."
Also James 3:8 -- "A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!"
Proverbs 12:18 -- "Reckless (Thoughtless, Careless) words pierce like a thrusting sword, but the speech of the wise is a healing balm."
"The ability to verbalize is an awesome privilege, granted only to those I created in My image. You need help in wielding this mighty power responsibly...The World applauds quick-witted retorts. My instructions about communication are quite different: Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." eloquent Sarah Hayes wrote in "Jesus Calling." She advises if someone is speaking, or silent, to pray "Help me, Holy Spirit" before speaking to come under the Holy Spirit's control and to train myself to do this regularly.
Seventy-five days in, cognizance of tongue is now a habit. I've learned a lot in 75 days. Augmenting on the practice, open-ended questions are in mind & the topic of a future blog.
Buttoning-up blesses the listener and the one speaking.
Others feel heard & valued. What's the downside of this, especially as Christ's representative?
Increases one's likeability, approachability & relatability, also useful for witnessing.
No effort or stress is required, normally needed to retort, defend, advise, control, or relate.
Wisdom, worldly smarts & dynamism may expand.
Humility, discernment & modesty could flourish as others shine.
One's "patience muscles" reawaken.
One becomes un-shockable, consequently better equipped to cope because nothing is "drama."
Increases mental-space to receive & discern others' verbal and non-verbal cues & clues.
Offers an exasperated speaker room to breathe & rest in your presence, also useful for fellowship
As Christ's representative, we can learn more by "just" listening, become more likeable and relatable. We are a comfortable space where one may drop pretense to rest. We model Grace which may gently lead others to a joyous boundless relationship with Jesus -- The One who changes everything, including our tongue.
"Don't speak unless you can improve on the silence." -- Spanish Proverb
Since Silence is precious and perfect, how often should any of us speak?
Thank you, dear wise friend, for helping to further sharpen -- not my not tongue but -- my iron.