Stung by the Tongue

The gift of speech is precious. Linguists tell us that this gift is what distinguishes us from other animals. Did you know that you have a unique idiolect?* In fact, your voice print (as measured by a spectrograph) is as unique as your fingerprint. No one has an idiolect that is exactly like yours.

Someone said that we can be hung by our tongue, and how true this is. It is equally true that we can be stung by our tongue! The tongue can be either a vicious weapon or a soothing medication. It all depends on how we use it.

The Bible says many things about the tongue: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21). Though it is a little member, the tongue is "...a fire, a world of defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature" (James 3:5-6). Those are very powerful words.

There is a Jewish book that I recently read. It is entitled Lashon hara. The Hebrew term means "evil tongue," and it is used when speaking derogatorily about other people. The emphasis throughout the book is upon the use of true speech for wrongful purposes, such as slander, gossip, defamation, and talebearing.

We are stung by our tongue every time we use it to sting others in any of the above ways. It's so important to avoid doing so at all times. The Bible says, "The tongue of the wise is as choice silver" (Proverbs 10:20), and "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life" (Proverbs 15:4).

Let's keep our speech wholesome and positive so that we will not be stung by our tongue or hung by our tongue. Let us make this our daily prayer: "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).

*The speech habits peculiar to a particular person.

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