I never have liked that little rhyme, because for the most part, it isn't true.
Words are very hurtful, and they can never be taken back. Do you think before you speak? Another ouch. (Yes, we're ALL guilty.)
We've dealt with a situation for a while now where a family has lied about us and said some very negative things. Oh, not to our faces, but to other people. And when we've gone to these people that have said the ugly things to ask them about it, they've always said there isn't a problem. The only thing we can do, is forgive them and move on. But those words, those lies were still said. They can't be taken back.
People are motivated by many things to say what they do, but I believe, it comes down to pride. Competition, jealousy, arguing a heated topic... it all leads back to pride. Everyone wants to be right. Everyone wants to be the most popular. Everyone wants to be liked. So, how do we combat this ugly monster?
The Bible say this:
Proverbs 10:19 (NIV) - "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise."
Proverbs 10:20 (NIV) - "The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value."
Proverbs 10:31 (NIV) - "The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be cut out."
Proverbs 11:12 (NIV) - "A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue."
Proverbs 12:18 (NIV) - "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
Proverbs 12:19 (NIV) - "Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment."
Proverbs 15:2 (NIV) - "The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly."
Proverbs 15:4 (NIV) - "The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."
Proverbs 17:20 (NIV) - "A man of perverse heart does not prosper; he whose tongue is deceitful falls into trouble."
Proverbs 17:28 (NIV) - "Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue."
Proverbs 21:23 (NIV) - "He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity."
James 1:26 (NIV) - "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless."
James 3:5 (NIV) - "Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark."
James 3:8 (NIV) - "but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."
These are just a few of the things the Bible says about the tongue. I'd encourage you to do a search on your own to see how many times our great God tries to get our attention about our speech.
Are you an encourager? Or is your speech filled with negativity? Do you always have something nice to say? Or are you always pointing out everyone else's faults? Do you ever ask people to stop their gossip? Or do you join in for the latest juicy news? Tough questions - but they need to be asked. Each one of us needs to ask them every day -of ourselves.
I've had a lot of people ask me how we've handled this situation. Well, it's a tough answer - I've kept my mouth shut, and I'm working on forgiveness every day. And I should say, GOD has kept my mouth shut, because I certainly couldn't do it. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to go give them a piece of my mind, or defend my family, or defend the TV show and station that the Lord blessed us through. But - the Lord hasn't told me to do that. I often wonder what other people think, if they are to hear the ugly lies -- but HE gently reminds me that I shouldn't care what other people think. People will find the truth if they truly look for it. And this Scripture keeps coming to mind:
1 Peter 3:9-11
"Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, 'Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.'"
So, what kind of shape is your tongue in? Mine needs a lot of work, too...
Let's lift one another up and encourage one another to guard our speech (and our minds.)
All Scripture Quotes taken from:
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society