This past week I was crabby! The slightest thing could set off a desire to pick a fight. It would rise up inside me. I was snarky and short in my words to others. I really just wanted to argue with someone. There were a lot of things I wanted to say, but I have learned to hold my tongue most of the time:0)
There is a phrase my dad used to say all the time, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” In fact, he said it so often that it automatically goes off in my mind as soon as I am tempted to say something inflammatory. It hasn’t always stopped me, but it has given me measure to pause and potentially hold my tongue.
3 as long as I have life within me,
the breath of God in my nostrils,
4 my lips will not say anything wicked,
and my tongue will not utter lies.
5 I will never admit you are in the right;
till I die, I will not deny my integrity. (Job 27:3-5 NIV).
I have failed this scripture many times, but thanks to my dad’s words being ingrained in me, I have learned to pause first. I have learned to consider how my words are going to be received. I have learned to think through the impact I want my words to have on the listener. It has taken a lot of practice. Last week, I failed once and walked out of the room a few times holding my tongue.
I’m reminded that this scripture holds true regardless if the words are spoken or written. Inflammatory words in either case bring hurt, misunderstanding and suffering to someone. Somehow, we have lost the idea of respecting others first, giving the benefit of the doubt, allowing for context and understanding.
My dad’s words were not about always agreeing with someone. He was a man who taught discourse. He taught me to become knowledgeable about what I’m saying. He taught me to dig into facts. He taught me to look at both sides. He taught me to respect opposing opinions. He taught me to hold my tongue whether I’m just crabby or if I simply disagree with someone.
How have you learned to hold your tongue? Are you still working on it? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.