My mother complained that a distant family member had quite the ‘sharp tongue’. Not a compliment! Tongue–cutting and razor-edged. Could hurt deeply with only a few words spoken. Psalm 64 says much the same–‘…who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows’. We get the point! Or do we?
Words can cut like the sharpest of knives. And their pain can linger for a lifetime. Can you not remember some harsh word tossed your way, and this when you were very young? I can. Called a nasty word because I was chubby then and now. Over sixty years ago now. I can remember where, who said it, and how much it hurt. I also remember unkind and cutting words from my mouth that were meant to hurt but did just that.
Jesus’ half -brother James wrote this–‘…the tongue is a fire, of world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, straining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell'(ch 3:6). That makes you sit down for awhile. Gives pause…to what we say. Recently, I heard that a childhood neighbor had died. A bunch of us juvenile rascals would scare him at night, knowing he was terrified of ghosts. I wrote his mother and widow saying what a fine man he was. And that I was sorry for words from my mouth aimed to hurt him. They graciously forgave me as he had years ago. Still can’t take those words back, however.
I’m more careful what I say these days. More careful but far from perfect, sad to say. Have learned that my non-stop sense of humor needs boundaries, fences and walls at times. And never to make fun of others. Never. Laugh at myself. Puck fun at me. Be the brunt and fall-guy. Taking myself lightly eases the potential danger of humor. Poking fun at others is no fun at all, especially for them. I know. I’ve tried it. It’s happened to me, too.
Put away the swords and arrows. Keep the knives in a drawer. Have fun. Laugh. Speak kind and loving words to each other and to yourself as well.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for loving words meant for us your children. In Jesus’ name. Amen.