Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Hold Your Tongue!
Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
Have you ever posted an innocuous spark of a comment on Facebook only to have it burst like wildfire with "likes", comments and sharing? Most of the time, the posts of friends offer lively, witty, and humorous remarks that fan the flame in others to joining in the fun; tongues are wagging gleefully and harmlessly. There are instances, however, almost always in conversations stemming from some political source or controversial article, that can begin jauntily enough, but ultimately degenerate into downright nasty, degrading, and insulting commentaries better left unsaid no matter how self-righteous or indignant the offended and/or offending party is. And, when the profanity enters, I simply close the door to the whole shebang.
James knew that our tongues, albeit small, were the most difficult members of our bodies to tame. With the rise of social networking, the words we type to friends should be regarded as carefully as it we were speaking to them in person or on the phone. Perhaps, with the lack of inflection and nuance the written word conveys, we should be all the more vigilant in subduing our tongues, especially if we harbor the tiniest shred of doubt as to whether or not the reader could wrongly interpret our message. I, unfortunately, and I would suppose a few of you, have learned this the hard way.
As Christians, I believe we have to practice the greatest restraint in matters of the tongue. We are children of the light, but the darkness which would love to envelope us is only a shadowy, slip-of-the-tongue away. If we are put off by or unsure of how to respond to a comment, it is best, for our sake and for the sake of others, to remain tongue-tied. Holding our tongues takes concerted effort, but it is a discipline well worth developing.
Psalms 38 or 119:25-48
1 Kings 9:24-10:13