On Taming the Tongue

My Quiet Time yesterday was on James 3, habang nasa bus papunta dito sa Laguna. Taming the tongue.

read passage here

Teachers use their tongues to teach. But their same tongues could betray them,releasing words that are at times accompanied by actions that are both contrary to what they have taught at one time or another. What we teach is not limited by what we say inside the classroom, but, more importantly, by everything we say and do outside of it. The tongue is a source of inconsistency that mirrors all the other inconsistencies in our lives.

“Nadudulas” ang dila, ika nga Hence, those who teach or disciple others must, among other things, “watch their mouth” more closely. It is a hundred times easier to say either edifying or destructive words than to say, do good works or kill a human being. Opening your mouth doesn’t need much effort, muscle, or calories. The only other exercise that requires less effort is the act of thinking. Though evil words are evil thoughts materialized, evil thoughts do harm primarily to the thinker, and not really to the object of the evil thought (sorry, off tangent na, wala sa passage itong realization na ito).

The illustration of the horse’s bit and the ship’s rudder suggests that control can be applied to our speech. That, however, must be deliberate. Just like in taming a wild animal, the discipline involves a high level of skill and effort, so that the ‘wild’ creature learns to not just act on impulse, but to obey orders and directions. Taming the tongue, in essence, means not saying things that are better off unsaid even if you want to (passive,negative), and, similarly, saying things that you would otherwise keep to yourself (active, positive). Below are some reflections on how to tame the tongue:

  1. Pray. Without the Spirit of God working inside you, things would be impossible. Humbly ask God to change you, and ALLOW Him to.
  2. Put on brakes. Let a second or more of thinking pass by before unleashing potentially hazardous phrases. If you think twice about saying something because you might regret the outcome, then don’t say it. Sarcastic remarks and side comments that can offend rather than extract laughter should be kept at a minimum, if not totally forgotten.
  3. Phillipians 4:8. Whenever you have something good to say, don’t just think about it, speak up! These include (but are not limited to) words of gratitude, exhortations, sincere pangangamusta, constructive comments and criticisms, and words of encouragement. Phrases like “Thank you”, “good job!”, “sorry”, “kumusta na?”, “do you know that God loves you?” and the like should be used more often, as appropriate.
  4. Reconstruct your sentences to be able to convey what needs to be conveyed so that it will be told in the most loving manner possible.

Taming the tongue doesn’t just refer to audible communication. In our age of digital literacy, these concepts also apply to our online posts, texts, email, snail mail, and other forms of audio-visual communication.

Again, I do not claim to be a master of taming the tongue, and do pray and wish that I could effortlessly do those things I’ve written above, for I am also subject my own words.  I guess that’s what lifetime sanctification is for.

Basta, in short, share Christ’s message and love by purposefully opening your mouth so that every single word will be for His glory!

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2 Responses to On Taming the Tongue

  1. janna says:

    i bet exempted na naman ako dito. lalo na sa #3.

    can’t even greet me on my birthday.

    sheesh.

  2. Jhoanna Isla says:

    or not anymore. 🙂

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