Here’s what stood out for me in my lection divina reading of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 5:
“Do not be rash with your mouth …. therefore let your words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:2
Sins of the tongue are among the hardest to avoid. I’m an introvert, so I do tend to think before I speak, but my tongue still gets away from me! I like to use the acronym T.H.I.N..K,
- T — is it true?
- H–is it helpful?
- I–is it inspiring?
- N–is it necessary?
- K–is it kind?
Most of the time, it works. However, recently I was speaking with a neighbor about somebody else in our neighborhood, and I made a few comments — they were true, and I wanted to think they were helpful; they weren’t even unkind — but in retrospect, I’m not sure they were necessary. I fear they were thinly disguised gossip. I simply got carried away with displaying my more intimate knowledge of this person and it was not God-pleasing.
No wonder the tongue is described this way:
“… the tongue is a small part of the body, but it boasts of great things. Consider how small a spark sets a great forest ablaze. The tongue also is a fire, a world of wickedness among the parts of the body. It pollutes the whole person, sets the course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” James 3:5-6
Words are an instance when less is more. Keep your words few and gracious. Once spoken, they can’t be called back.
For more posts on the tongue see: