- I have a sharp wit. This can be seen as clever and funny OR as rude and disrespectful.
- I love to talk. I have a lot to share and am perfectly willing to do so, but this also means I'm not always a very good listener.
- I have a terrible temper. I have come a long way in learning to control this, but it still gets away from me, most often with my kids. Ironically you can see the negative effects of my temper most often in the way my children handle their temper. Apparently I am a poor role model!
So verses like James 1:19 are painful for me, "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,".
Um, that doesn't describe me AT ALL!
James then goes on in verse 26 to say, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless."!
Ouch. That hurts.
Sometimes truth hurts. And this is one of those times. You see, just because the truth doesn't describe me, that doesn't mean it's not true! I don't get to change the truth. Unfortunately, I am the one who needs to change, not the words of God.
There are countless reasons to keep a tight reign on your tongue, to closely monitor the words that you say, the book of Proverbs alone lists over a dozen of them, here are just a few...
- "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." 12:18
- "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger." 15:1
- "The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life,…"15:4
- "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."16:24
James knows what he was talking about. In fact in chapter 3 he spends 12 verses talking about the importance of taming the tongue. There is no doubt the tongue can do great damage when it is not controlled. I have done great damage with my tongue. And I have had to go back to people I have spoken to in anger or sometimes even unintentionally been disrespectful to and had to apologize. It is not an easy thing to do.
I don't want to deceive myself. I don't want my religion to be worthless. I want God to smile down on the words that I use and say. I want my friends to consider me a good listener. I want my children not to fear my anger and temper tantrums. So I will diligently try to tame my terrible, temperamental, talkative, tongue.
How about you?