#FAITH : Mastering Our Spoken Word(s)

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” (James 1:19)

I once heard a quote that has haunted me for many years. Since misery loves company, I will afflict you with this statement:

“You are the master of the unspoken word. The spoken word is master of you.”

There are many such exhortations in the Proverbs, like this one: “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” (Proverbs 17:28) And this one: “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.” (Proverbs 10:19)

The first stanza of the hymn “May the Mind of Christ My Savior” is my prayer every day. The prayer petition is this: “May the mind of Christ my savior live in me from day to day, by His love and power controlling, all I do and say.” (Lyrics, Katie Barclay Wilkinson)

One of my favorite mentors offended 1,500 people in 20 minutes when he spoke in the chapel service of his college. He decided that if he could make that many people mad in twenty minutes, maybe he could also do a lot of good with his mouth.

The hymn “Take My Life and Let it Be” (by Frances Ridley Havergal) prays, “Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.”

Obviously another great prayer to ask God every day when we are tempted to run our mouth before our brain is in gear. We certainly don’t want to have constipation of the mind and diarrhea of the mouth!

Dick Woodward, (email, 06 February 2003)

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