Do Not Be Rash With Your Mouth

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:

Hold Your Tongue!

Live at Peace/Tame Your Tongue

Zip It by Karen Ehman–Book Review


Joan’s Pet Peeve

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.  Ephesians 5:4

Well, a while back Beth Ann wrote about one of her pet peeves, so I thought today I’d tell you about one of mine.  My husband and I went to a local dinner theater production last night.  It was a musical.  The amateur performers were quite good, and I enjoyed the singing.  Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the dialogue.  Obscenities and coarse joking were definitely part of the fare.  In my mind, this language detracted from the entire performance.

Possibly, in the minds of many, this makes me a prude, or at best an up-tight English major, obessessed with “proper” language, but I don’t think that’s the case.   I understand that we are human and we sin.  Inappropriate words have certainly crossed my mind, and even come out of my mouth on occasion — generally when I’m particularly frustrated or in pain.  I ask for forgiveness and move on.  It happens.  What I am wondering is, when did it become normal, and even amusing to curse, swear and use bad language in front of anyone and everyone?  Why aren’t we complaining when this happens?  When did it become something we simply have to tolerate?  The Bible obviously teaches this is a wrongful use of the tongue.

Here’s another example.  I was sitting in our car, in a parking lot with my granddaughter, who was a young teenager at the time.  A young man walked by, cell phone to his ear.  It seemed as if every other word was an obscenity.  He wasn’t angry, he wasn’t agitated — this was evidently just the way he communicated with others.  I wanted to say that I didn’t appreciate hearing that language, especially in front of a young person, but I didn’t.  I suppose I was afraid of creating a “scene.”

So, I’m asking you readers, what should we do?  Should we speak up (hopefully with gentleness and respect) or should we keep silent?  Should boycott movies, shows and other performances that offend our ears?  Or should we quietly tolerate them because this is just the way things are?

Does this qualify as a rant?  Maybe so– but I’d really like to see some other opinions!