Tying Your Tongue

Steve Arterburn

Sometimes it’s good to just be quiet, and experience silence, and stillness. Not only in our relationship with God but also with others as well. If you’ll read and reflect on James chapter three, you’ll find that Scripture warns us about the use of our tongue. Just think about the damage caused by careless words, gossip, lies, sarcasm, hurtful comments, inappropriate humor and bitter arguments, and you’ll understand why James cautions us about the tongue.

You rememberthe old saying: ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’. It’s really not true, is it? In fact, the opposite is more often the case. Broken bones heal much quicker and easier than wounded spirits.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul said, ‘Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them’.

In light of what James and Paul wrote, it should cause you to think about guarding your tongue carefully. From the silence of not answering back when baited into an argument, to not spreading gossip, to forgoing that sarcastic remark that would’ve gotten a laugh at someone else’s expense, verbal self-control is a powerful to bless and encourage others.

Struggling With Silence

Steve Arterburn

A man wrote this comment about his relationship with his wife: ‘I did not reveal myself to her. I stuffed many of my thoughts, emotions, and needs that I feared would lead to rejection if I voiced them’This was cutting her off’I believe this was an abdication of my responsibility. I have known for many, many years that honesty and openness is God’s way but had not really come to terms with it until recently.’

 

As a man, you likely agree that not every emotion you feel’for example, fear, inhibition, or intimidation’is good. You probably realize honesty and openness is God’s desire but struggle to obey. Haven’t you wondered if Adam ever said ‘I’m sorry’ to Eve. Think about it. There he was in the Garden, listening to Satan tempt his wife, and he did nothing to interfere, to keep her from giving in. And the rest is history.

 

As one prominent psychologist noted, ‘Adam was there and he was silent.’ I wonder if Adam ever spoke to Eve about his shame. And I wonder if we men have inherited his silence.

 

You don’t have to give in to the temptation of silence. Share yourself with your wife. Come to terms with the fact that the silence that fills your home is like a fog and obscures you from her. But you can begin to clear the fog. Give her the opportunity to receive what you say with trust and grace. It might be scary. But you can do it.