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Learning to use my tongue wisely

May 11, 2007

“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:5-6)

Have you ever thought seriously about the affect your words have on others? Not just the words you intend to communicate, but how they are received by others? It is really humbling!

I am speaking with a lot of people I don’t know right now as I look for a new job. I will only have a brief opportunity to interact with many of these people. I desire to make a positive impression, not just because I want to find work, but also because I want to be a good representative of God in all I say and do. At the same time I have been working through a process where words I shared with someone I care for have been received in a way that was hurtful. Not something I intended. Despite our best intentions we can sometimes speak or write words that can hurt others, or misrepresent ourselves and God. The advice “think before you speak” is sound advice, but don’t forget to try to see things through others eyes too. Unless we know who our audience is, and how our words may be received, we can cause pain or confusion without even meaning to. Now if only I can learn to use my tongue wisely to build up others instead of tear them down.

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