“A gentle tongue [with its healing power] is a tree of life, but willful contrariness in it breaks down the spirit.”
Proverbs 15:4 AMP
I watched a movie recently called Parental Guidance starring Billy Crystal (as Artie) and Bette Midler (as Diane). As grandparents, they had pretty much failed due to misunderstandings between them and their only child. Artie had also lost his dream job as a baseball announcer and was eagerly hoping for an audition with another team. In the meantime, Artie and Diane had an opportunity to watch their three grandkids for a week and were eager to redeem themselves in the sight of the family.
One of my favorite scenes is an honest discourse between Diane and Artie. Everything has gone wrong, and they seemingly have failed at being responsible grandparents in the eyes of their daughter. Here is the dialogue.
Diane: I followed you for 35 years, Artie. Wherever you needed to be, that’s where I was. No complaints. Well, some. But this week … this week was supposed to be about us and our grandchildren. Not you. Not you. Did you have to go to that audition?
Artie: It’s not one of my better moments.
Diane expressed her true feelings and spoke words of hard truth. However, how she said them made all the difference. She didn’t rant and rave over the fact that she was right. Nor did she become a drama queen and make him feel bad with her tears. Artie realized his selfishness and responded appropriately, admitting his wrong.
Our words, according to Proverbs, can bring healing or harm depending on what and how we say them. God dealt with me years ago about my tainted tongue. He used the following verse to convict my heart of the damage I was doing, especially toward my loved ones.
“There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18, NASB
Ouch! That’s a hard one, but one I revisit often to keep my lips under control. I don’t want my speech to cut and wound due to my uncaring thoughtlessness. Instead, I long for God to bring life and health to others through my communication.
It’s never too late for a tongue check-up. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you speak with soothing sweetness and control. Seek to be pleasant and gentle in all you say. It takes practice, but it’s so worth it. [Digging deeper – Psalm 57:4; Prov. 15:26b; 16:21, 23-24, 31:26]
Taming the tongue,
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