Tongue of Blessing or Poison
"Was it out of anger?"
Our son, trying to understand another's hurtful choices, asked the question with tears running down his face.
Propped against his father, I watched their faces and waited for a response. It was a challenging question to face as a parent striving to say the right thing to a child in the right way. Eric did not rush a response but eventually said, "I don't know the heart of the other, but I do know we can pray and forgive even if the choice was made in anger."
Our son has no way of knowing how loving those words were nor can he comprehend the grace in that response. Watching the interaction between father and son made me thankful for Eric's wisdom in his careful answer with his tongue. It also reminded me how words matter.
Words always reveal what is truly in the heart. With the tongue we wound or bless. When faced with the choice of response, Proverbs says that, "The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things," (25:28).
If we want the fruit of a good tongue, there are three actions we must take (these are borrowed from our pastor):
1) Put off sinful speech with confession - get others involved for accountability.
2) Be renewed in the attitude of your mind - "cut out the 'root,' And you won't have to keep cleaning up bad 'fruit.'"
3) Put on sanctified speech - "The goal is for the fruit of the spirit to characterize your speech," (Gal. 5:22).
What is your speech reflecting? It's a hard question for us to answer and one that we can't truly do honestly without the aid of the Holy Spirit who convicts and opens our blind eyes.
Where are you in the three actions listed? How can you take action today?
"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salts, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person," (Colossians 4:6).