Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Taming the Tongue Is Only the Beginning

For a long time my tongue was my worst enemy. After many years of using sarcasm as a defense (and an offense), the wall of tactfulness between my brain and my mouth no longer existed. As soon as snide, biting comments reared their ugly head they automatically escaped my lips. There wasn't an argument I couldn't win with harsh truths and back handed insults.

Even after being dragged out of 'old man world' into salvation, I continued with this character trait. It was the truth I was speaking after all - the cold, hard truth. If others were offended by the truth, well 'that was their problem, not mine".

My husband was the first to start giving me some of my own medicine. Pointing out how offensive my mouth could be to others. Like alot of husbands, his wife's harshest 'truths' were reserved for him. I would say discouraging and critical things to him...all in the name of truth. One day he deflated me with a simple statement, "You may be right, but it would be alot more helpful if you were my cheerleader rather than my coach." Ouch.

Being right and speaking the truth was hurting the hearers. At which point, no one was listening to me anymore. I began to pray and study over the passages I found in scripture regarding the tongue, i.e. Proverbs 15:1,4; Proverbs 17:28 and alot more!

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
1 Cor. 13:1
Slowly I learned to hold my tongue. There have been successes and failures. But God is merciful and He is faithful to finish this good work He has started. There has been a significant change in my conversation and a much improved ability to hold the sarcasm back from my lips. The sounding brass and tinkling cymbal was muzzled.

Then, recently, He had me read the verses that followed:
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
1 Cor. 13:2&3 (emphasis mine)
Rats! Still more learning to do. Now, not only do I need to tame my tongue, but the heart behind it, as well. It isn't enough that my mouth is clamped shut if the 'sounding brass' is still resounding in my heart. I have had to realize that the action of obedience without the love, holds no glory for Him. The lack of love is also transparent to those around me - if not right away, in time. My witness is affected by the lack of love in accomplishing the duties of a Christian woman.
I continue to work toward allowing the love that the Lord and His Son have given to me (freely and without hesitation) to be shown to those around me. Surely as I study His Word and grow closer to Him through His Son, the love I continue to receive will overflow - as it is meant to!
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18

1 comment:

Mrs. Parunak said...

Thank you for this wonderful, transparent post. I really appreciated your honesty, and I feel very convicted as I, too, may seem OK on the outside as far as snide comments go, but inside I'm all "sounding brass" so very often.