We all have words we regret, be they spoken (reckless, gossip, deceit, anger) or unspoken (forgiveness, confession, truth or encouragement). No matter how hard we try, we all seem to fall short in taming our tongue. Why is it so hard to consistently use words wisely?
Our lives are lived in a series of small moments that together shape a trajectory. The book of Proverbs has many pithy sayings, nuggets of wisdom, that can act as curb stones to keep us on the straight & narrow. When it comes to taming our tongues, Proverbs has much to say: 4:24, 6:2, 10:31&19, 12:18, 15:2, 16:23-24, 17:27-28, 18:6-7&21, 21:23, 28:23, 29:11.
Yet Proverbs 15:4 is really helpful because it is a faint echo of both the problem & solution of the reality that we live in. It resonates Genesis 1-3 where the Great Talker speaks the world into being, establishes Adam & Eve in a perfect garden and gives them the Tree of Life. Yet they decide to listen to the Great Deceiver, eat God forbidden fruit, the results of which is crushed spirit, division & barred access to the Tree of Life. Mankind’s sinful hearts can now do little else but speak out harsh words, we are unable to tame our tongues.
Yet the Great Speaker sent the Word, who became flesh (John 1v1-2 & 14), Jesus came to bring Revelation & Redemption. In the gospel we embrace our ‘inability apart from Christ’ and our ‘ability in Christ’. This is a holistic truth – what is true for our Sins is true for our tongues. Taming our tongues is not a technique to be learnt but a Gospel issue to be outworked. The Holy Spirit is now at work within us, bearing fruit; we can tame our tongues because Christ died & rose again.
And just as Jesus’ words brought us healing & access to the Tree of Life (Rev22v2) so too should our words bring healing & life to those around us.
Questions for reflection:
#1 Does your talk have an ‘us together’ or a ‘me against them’ posture?
#2 Are you ‘open & teachable’ or ‘defensive & self protective’ in your words?
#3 Do your principle relationship have healthy communication? (Parent/child, husband/wife, siblings, employer/employee, friends, fellow Christians).
#4 Do your words reflect a ‘willingness to serve’ or a ‘demand to be served’?
#5 Do your words ‘build relationships’ or simply ‘solve problems’?