Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Taming the Tongue

 I had so much fun taking this picture a few years back.  No, it's not real-but it could be.  How many times have I been quick to anger, and said things I've regretted?  I am glad there are no pictures to remember those moments by.  Unfortunately, just because there are no pictures, does not mean I haven't had to learn (and keep learning!) when to speak, and when to think quietly before answering. 

The book of James has so much wisdom for putting our faith and what we believe into action.  The area of taming the tongue is no different.  James 3 has much to say in verses 7-10 of The Message:  "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!"

How can my tongue be compared to a tiger?  Is it really that bad?  How many times have I said something I later regretted?  Or followed up by saying, "I'm not saying anything I wouldn't say in front of her!"?  Maybe I need to re-think that-just because I wouldn't say something in front of whoever, doesn't mean I should say something in front of whoever.  Maybe God would just prefer I kept my mouth shut.  Maybe my negativity is just what that other person is feeding on-adding fuel to their fire, or giving them negative thoughts about others they would not have had otherwise.  But also, is what I am saying hurting my witness?

You've heard the old saying, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!"  Surely there is some good in everything I can speak of.

I've been around people who are optimistic, and those who are pessimistic.  The optimists seem to always be able to find a piece of hope in a grim situation.  When I have gone through struggles, it is these people that I choose to talk to-they helped me to see the good when I wasn't able to.  Pessimists just bring you down-you go tell them an exciting idea you have or good news, and they find a way to let you know why or how it won't work, or what makes the news not so great.

I wonder how people perceive me-am I an optimist or a pessimist?  Do the words I speak bring people a glimmer of hope, or bring them down?  But more importantly-I wonder how God sees me?  Am I helping His Kingdom or hurting it by the words I choose to speak?

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