“Mariah, how many times did Mr. P. have you hold your tongue?” “I don’t know, mom…there were too many times to count.” We had a good laugh about that. That image just causes me to giggle. As a way of correction for talking out of turn, her 5th grade teacher would have the students hold their tongues. You really wouldn’t wanna be sentenced to holding your tongue while you marched around the playground. The public humiliation would be too much to bear…for everyone except Mariah.
Oh that we would learn to take a lesson from Mr. P. and hold our tongues. Just as a bell cannot be unrung or a haunting image erased from your memory, words can’t be taken back once released. I still recall some really stupid things I’ve said and the memories still cause me to grimace, like the time my husband introduced me to his friend, Percy and I said….(oh God, never mind…it was just too hideous for me to make forever public), but trust me, it was bad! Just the mention of his name, threatens hives! Words have power! They can be regarded as weapons of mass destruction for the damage they inflict. At the same time, they can be the encouragement a weary soul needs; the healing a bruised heart seeks.
I was recently prompted to talk to my kids about their words. That teachable moment came as I was putting on my coffee the other day. As I inserted the filter and measured the coffee, I was reminded of the importance of measuring our words; of filtering them through what I call our Holy Ghost filter. I explained to them that they don’t have to say everything they think and when they do, they should imagine a filter fixed just under their forehead and above their mouth. Anything that is not true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous or praiseworthy should stay right in that filter giving way to only all that is good. They seemed to have understood the message. Time will tell how well they put it into play. I know it takes time and practice and much discipline, made easier as we make an effort to have our minds changed or transformed by the Word. I’ll be as patient with them as God is with me. Whenever I feel the need to “share,” I seriously hear God say, “Arlene, shut it.” (That’s how He has to talk to me sometimes.) Most times I listen. Sometimes I don’t. Thank God for mercy, forgiveness and Mr. P. Now don’t forget to remember to hold your tongue!!
“Lord, may every word we speak be seasoned with mercy and laced with love and kindness; may be we reminded that death and life are in the power of the tongue and may we choose to speak words of encouragement, healing, life 24/7/365 plus one in Jesus’ name, amen..so be it!”