Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kind, Necessary, and True: The Taming of the Tongue

One year on Mother's Day, my church showed a video of different members honoring their mothers...sharing things that their mothers had sacrificed for them, done for them, or taught them.  As a mother, one message spoke to me above all the rest.  It was a man sharing what his mother taught him about controlling the tongue.  His mother taught him only to say what is "kind, necessary, and true".  What a great guideline...kind, necessary, and true.  This short, quick reference has been truly pivotal in my own life.  I am still a work in progress for sure, but I refer to this often...kind, necessary, and true.  As my children have grown older, I am attempting to pass it on to them.  Right now, it is just little seeds planted in their moist, fertile hearts, but one day I believe that it be a living and growing guideline in their lives.  Kind...Necessary...True.   

One of my favorite scripture passages on controlling the tongue is from James 3.  As homeschooled children, my brothers and I memorized the book of James (along with hundreds of other kids who schooled with the same curriculum).  It is still a driving force in my heart and mind.  Here is part of that passage.

"3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 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. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water."  James 3:3-11 NIV 

I love the part about the ship.  It paints such an amazing picture...reminds me of the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian (one of Peter's favorites).

Here is this massive structure being controlled and turned by a comparatively small piece.  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words so I will leave you with this picture of a ship being turned...kind, necessary, and true:)

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