2016-12-06 - Bite Your Tongue
During Thanksgiving dinner, I bit my tongue. If you’ve ever done this, then you know it can be quite painful. Then two days later, I did it again- in the same place, of course. As I wondered how I could possibly do this either time, an idiom my mother used to use came to mind: “Bite your tongue!” The phrase as described by Cambridge Dictionary.org means “to stop yourself from saying something.” Of course, the meaning of the idiom is figurative and not literal, but when your tongue hurts, you might think twice about saying things - or maybe eating that second piece of pie. I’ve had some "bite your tongue" moments where I wondered if it were literal, would there be blood running down my face. And I probably haven’t had enough moments where I took the advice of not saying something.
The Bible describes the tongue in several ways. It’s an avenue of praise, a way to edify ourselves, a way to confess to God, a weapon to divide ourselves from each other and our maker, as well as a vehicle for speaking and teaching truth. It’s obvious to me that the two best ways to use this part of our bodies are praising God and speaking truth. But it’s also clear that is not what happens much of the time, or just the thirty-five references to the word in the book of Psalms - many discussing improper usage of the tongue, with words like deceit(ful), sharp, ha ness, muzzle, lying, poison, etc. - would not be found. And it’s clear from those descriptions, and the fact we cannot tame our tongue (James 3:8), that we need God to do it, and it’s not going to be easy, as long as we are here waiting for His return. So we have to study, pray, surround ourselves consistently with those who want to edify God, and be accountable to His truth. We need to be aware of the inappropriateness of the tongue, yet we need to allow the spirit to have us focus our energy on the appropriate uses and reactions, so we develop a pattern of choosing God’s way. I started and ended with how I need to focus on and think about how I use my words. How about you?
“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
All scripture references from New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted