Reining the Tongue

This week, I’ve felt called out on multiple levels about what I choose to say and not say.

James 1:26 is one of those verses that I hold up in front of myself a lot: “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”

Ouch, James man. Tell us what you really think?

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In chapter 3, the author of James gets really colorful – and very correct. As he puts it, our thoughts direct our words which in turn shape our actions. We may think it doesn’t matter as long as we’re only thinking it or just speaking negative words. But it does. It really does.

As Jesus put it in the Gospel (Matthew 5:22), even thinking bad thoughts about a neighbor, let alone saying mean things about them puts us in danger of hell.

I think about these verses a lot. As James puts it, “We all stumble in many ways.” If I start to think – oh yeah, I always know the perfect thing to say in every situation – that just shows how very ignorant I am. Of all the things I still don’t know.

Pause. Breathe. Listen. Try again.

As a general rule, we should try to get along with everyone, but…. Sometimes, we need to be mean. Here’s what I think – and I might be wrong.

For the most part, I try to stay positive. (Some days more than others, Goddess knows.) But – if I really care AND it seems worthwhile AND I see someone I care about doing something harmful, then yes I correct them. Once or twice, and then I cut them loose. Forgiveness is a given but the charity of taking time and effort to correct sin as I see it? Yeah, I can only afford to do so much. I help no one by letting someone I care about drag me down with them. Sorry not sorry, you know?

It’s all very tricky and subtle – and I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have it all down. There are no Absolute Rules for Every Situation here.

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There are times to be straightforward, and there are times when you need to talk in parables. Sometimes, you have to tell a careful untruth, for example to exaggerate safety or danger because it’s the only way to get someone to do or not do something you think they probably should or should not be doing. Sometimes, you beg and plead in tears, and sometimes you bite back tears as you quietly say goodbye.

Sometimes it be that way.

I’m well aware – as I think we all are – I place my soul, my life in jeopardy with all of these moral choices. I’m also aware that it would be far worse for me if I did nothing, sat prone in my room afraid to move.

There are no Absolute Rules to follow here. Just love. And faith. And hope.

Saying God is love is one thing. Living it out with all of the people I plan to meet in the forever I hope to share with all y’all? Yeah, that is where things start to get interesting.

But – worth it. Of that much, I am 100% sure. Yesterday, today, and forever.

Personal prayer of the day: God, help me to be wise. I feel like I’m at a crossroads here. Stay still or move? What should I do?

Staying here as always until (and only to the extent that) You move me.

2 thoughts on “Reining the Tongue

  1. Anne, Full of wisdom this meditation is (as Yoda would say). You’ve mentioned some hard realities here, and as you say, behind them all, faith, hope, and love. And the Spirit that moves us to do His will. ❤️

  2. Anne, I do read everything you write, though I don’t always respond. This is exceptional, in light of the problematic readings of the day. Want to post it on the SEPA WOC website? Regina

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