Ever wonder why God decided to give us a tongue? After all, he knew the mess we would make out of it. For some reason, he wanted sounds coming from our mouths for communication. And now I'm sure there are times he just wants us to shut up. What do you think? Does he ever get tired of our grumbling and complaining or our bad-mouthing someone else? He must.
Here is a recent conversation I had with my tongue: "Dear Tongue, it is oh so easy to spout out words before thinking about what I am saying. I wish we would talk to each other more often before we share our secrets with someone else. If we did that, I probably wouldn’t say as much. Some things should be kept between you and me. How about making a deal? Let’s check in with each other before we say something we'll regret, OK?"
I've noticed a lot of gossip in the nursing arena. I've heard nurses say unkind things about their colleagues and patients. Gossip comes easily for some and will subtly suck you in. You may walk away wondering how you got hooked into a bad conversation. I'll tell you how: When we don't put a guard over our mouths, anything may come out!
Recently I felt compelled to speak in a conversation, but the Holy Spirit clearly said, "No, I've got this." So instead, I talked to him while quietly listening to the other person, rather than disobey the Lord by speaking my mind. I admit it's difficult for me to keep silent when truth is under attack. Nevertheless, God is teaching me when to speak -- or not! Sigh . . .
I'm thankful God didn't just hang us out to dry with the tongues he gave us. He speaks to us from his Word and shines light on the purpose and woes of our tongue. There is great wisdom in these Scripture verses:
- James 3:8-9 (TNIV): "But no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness." Holy Spirit, please take control of our tongues!
- Proverbs 15:28 (NLT): "The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words." As Christians, I pray we will think before speaking, especially when we are tempted to say something unkind about someone.
- Proverbs 11:13b (NASB): ". . . he who is trustworthy conceals a matter." We all need people we can trust. Are you a trustworthy person? Can others share something with you and leave it there safely?
- Proverbs 10:19 (NASB): "When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise." When I was a little girl, my teacher wrote "talks too much" on my report card. Imagine that! I've been struggling in this area for a long time.
- Proverbs 15:23 (NLT) "Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!" Lord, enable us to say the right thing at the right time. We can trust your wisdom and guidance.
Now, go and bless someone with your tongue!
--Skip McDonald, NCF staff