Category Archives: The Tongue

He That Answereth a Matter


So what’s on my mind today? The words of Stephen R. Covey: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Yesterday I was involved in a back-and-forth email discussion. My own submission would, I knew, challenge a few people, but I also felt it was okay to share. The discussion was going well enough until I checked on today’s responses to see how the conversation had progressed. Not surprisingly, a few folks decided to offer their rebuke both in the group discussion and by private email as well.

Show of hands, how many of you have had a similar experience? I see that hand, God bless you.

The sad thing is that those who chose to rebuff me had not actually taken the time to check their facts. I had been examining the topic in the article I shared for well over a year and am quite certain the information is valid; they, on the other hand, simply went to one of those  “Ask a Question” websites and found an opposing answer from someone who was hardly qualified to give it, someone who was clearly not knowledgeable about the subject; then proceeded to copy it and paste it into the discussion thread to “prove” that I had presented heresy.

Am I angry? No, at least not any more. As the old saying goes, “Let the ignorant be ignorant still.” (which by the way, is a saying that is rooted in I Corinthians).

However, the incident was a timely reminder to myself to heed, and to practice, the words of Proverbs 18:13: He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

Dear reader, if you didn’t raise your hand earlier, you will almost certainly have occasion to do so at some point. How will you react? You and I cannot stop others from rebuffing us unjustly, but we certainly have control over how we engage with others. Thus, we have the responsibility to not only choose our own words wisely, but also to dismiss the words of a scoffer like water off a duck’s back — I ask you, how often have you seen a disgruntled duck?

water off a ducky

Beautiful Prayer of an Aged Woman

praying nun

Have you ever taken a few moments to examine your own life and said, “Lord, the older I get the more (fill in the blank) I become, and I don’t like it one bit!” Well, I sure have. And I must not be the only one. A few years ago I came upon a beautiful prayer written by a seventeenth-century nun whose identity is unknown. I find the prayer to be so inspiring I wanted to share it with you. If it touches your heart in any way, we can both praise God for the heartfelt words of an anonymous nun.

Lord, you know better than I know myself that I am growing older and will some day be old. Keep me from getting talkative, particularly from the fatal habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful, but not moody; helpful, but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but you know, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end. Keep my mind from the recital of endless details- give me wings to come to the point.

I ask for grace enough to listen to the tales of others’ pains. Seal my lips on my own aches and pains -they are increasing, and my love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. Help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally it is possible that I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet. I do not want to be a saint- some of them are so hard to live with- but a sour old woman is one of the crowning works of the devil.

Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.

*This Prayer of an Aging Woman was taken from Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, & Quotes. Morgan, Robert J.Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville, Tennessee. 2000

Healing Honeycomb

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about bees because they are mysteriously disappearing en masse. How tragic!

As you know, bees are necessary to pollinate food crops. And they produce sweet honey, which is exceptionally healthful to the body, as is the honeycomb it is stored in. In fact, the diverse medicinal properties of both have been utilized for thousands of years. Bees wax is also medicinal.  In fact, burning pure bees-wax candles helps clean toxins out of the air. The  list of its other beneficial uses is nearly as long as that of honey.

Because the bees are disappearing at a rather frightening rate, scientists are trying to breed super bees and manufacture artificial honey and honey-related products. The problem is, artificially created products are usually more detrimental than beneficial. For instance, artificial honey is nothing more than sugar, water and citric acid (invert sugar), which can create health issues and artificial bees-wax contains chemicals, which are toxic to the human body.

I am reminded of Proverbs 16:24, which states: Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. I have personally experienced much encouragement and emotional healing from the pleasant words of others. However, I have also experienced the sting of pleasant, but insincere flatteries -like artificial honey- which made me feel good for that moment, but in the long run proved to be of no real value. I very much desire, therefore, that my own words be pure, sincere and healing to others.

“…. the difference is that instead of dirt and poison, we have rather chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax, thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light.” ~Johnathon Swift

Bumps and Spills

He was a tall man, so I couldn’t see the contents of the cup he was holding.  I assumed it was coffee, but I was wrong.  You see, as quickly as his bouncy sidekick bumped into him, orange juice sloshed all over his expensive white dress shirt. No one would have ever known what was in his cup if he hadn’t been bumped.

That made me think; human beings are all “vessels” (Romans 9:21). However, we do not all contain the same thing.  Sometimes, the best way to know  for sure what is inside a person, is to see what spills out when he or she is bumped.

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things (Matthew 12:34,35).

Dear reader, has someone bumped you lately? And if so, what spilled out? As for me I, like King David, pray:

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14).

How Dumb Are We?

A pastor once instructed his congregation to come forward so he could “pray for their tongue’s foot-by-foot  —honestly. Ouch! I didn’t know any of those folks but I’m sure they would’ve needed some help to hold their tongues.

Come to think of it, I think most of us could use some help in that area; I know I could. Let’s be honest. Sometimes it is hard to keep silent when more and more people are lacking intelligence or good judgment  —which is one definition for the word dumb— and we are the ones to suffer for it.

However, God’s word instructs us that it is often wise to be dumb  —dumb as in not speaking. Proverbs 21:3 says: He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. So, the question for today is, how dumb are we? I don’t know about you, but I pray that someday I can be the kind of person who always curbs my tongue.

There is reward in that. Those who refrain their tongue from evil, Scripture instructs, will love life and see good days (I Peter 3:10). It really would be dumb of us to let our tongues go loose until the pastor has to pray for it foot-by-foot. Let us instead, obey Scripture and bridle our tongues. Now that would be smart!