The tongue. Think about it as you listen to people with strong accents. At the camp we hear accents today from Russia, Italy, latin America, France, Belgium, South Africa, Jamaica, Ukraine and others…and just
remember, when someone has an accent, it means that he or she knows one more language than you do.
The tongue: what a tool for good and bad. Think about all the small things people say can make your day, "One kind word can change someone's entire day." …..but then, out of the blue, how an unkind and unhelpful sentence can ruin your week.
Saint James addresses the challenge of the tongue the best in the third chapter of his letter in the New Testament. He reminds us that the tongue might be small, but it is, ounce per ounce, the most powerful muscle in the human body—-and it is the cause of a lot of most of the world’s heartache and discouragement. He likens the tongue to a small spark, that can easily reduce a house or a forest to nothing in a just a few hours. Words we speak can destroy relationships, families and fellowships such as ours at The Vineyard and our churches.
James poignantly remind us in the eight verse that, “…no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison”. Truer words were never spoken!!! And I am as full of that poison as any other staff, camper or member of this church! I say things I don’t NEED to say but can’t resist. I utter things that are utterly harmful and without purpose! What to do?!
The best time for me to hold my tongue is the time I feel I must say something or explode. It took a contractor sixteen months to rebuild my home, but just two hours for former house to burn to the ground along with 40 years of accumulated furniture, art and beloved memorabilia; it is quicker to destroy than build, so be careful of what you say with your own tongue. You can destroy years of friendship and “building someone up” in a few words.
Ultimately there’s only one answer for the Christian in response to the tongue: Totally submit it to the Holy Spirit and shut up when He tells you to hold back on responding or saying something. SURRENDER YOUR TONGUE, YOU PEN AND PAPER OR YOUR TEXTS TO THE HOLY SPIRIT! You will find that you might be talking and texting less, and listening and understanding better.
Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can be only forgiven, not forgotten.. So this week, think about this, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world." -John Keating
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