Many conversations are centered around very heavy topics and people are coming to us for advice that can have lasting implications. For instance, one girl called me the other day because she has to make some important medical decisions about her mom. While I was so honoured to have gained this woman's trust, I found myself confronted with the fact that the counsel I gave was regarding the very life of another human being. Not exactly light conversation.
And then the need for confidentiality is a very real issue. Unfortunately Christians, who should be the most confidential people around, can actually be some of the biggest gossips you'll ever find. It can be lonely to look around and realize there are VERY FEW people you can really bounce things off of, seek advice from or share your heart with without the risk of it becoming fodder for the grapevine.
There are so many verses that speak to the tongue that it must be an issue near and dear to the Lord's heart...
The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly.
A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles.
If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.
So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
These verses are just a sampling of scriptures that address our tongue and the blessing or curse it can be in our lives and in the lives of others!! The reality is that those of us who lead are held to a higher standard, but all these scriptures are written for the common man or woman as well. Joe Blow and Suzy Q are still very accountable for what comes out of their mouths even though they may not be in a position of leading others. How much stronger would the body of Christ be if we would just work a little harder to get one of the smallest parts of our body truly under control?
There is a children's rhyme that is often sung as a defense against the onslaught of hurtful words. I am sure you know it. It goes like this...
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
That may actually be one of the biggest lies we ever grapple with from a very early age. In actuality, bones will heal much faster than the heart wounds that words inflict. We can recite this little ditty in our best sing-songy voice, but never out-run the sword that pierces our heart as the words are flung in our direction. Words have one of the greatest abilities to hurt like nothing else ever will, but they also have the ability to bring healing that echoes into eternity!
Lord, may I never take lightly the issue of controlling my tongue. May I always keep, in the forefront of my mind, the reality that I have the ability to speak words of life or words of death into the lives of others. Lord help me remember that as people are looking to me for wise counsel there is a desperate need to prayerfully consider what comes out of my mouth before I utter the first word. And Lord, when it is all said and done, may You find I have been faithful in this area of being wise and measured with my words!!
Psalm 19:14 ~ Let my words and my thoughts
be pleasing to you, LORD,
because you are my mighty rock and my protector.