The Tongue

In the book of Job, three friends show up to Job’s agonized side to offer their well-intended advice. Only their advice missed the mark. When he was hurting, when he needed support and encouragement, his friends showed up with good intentions, but instead disheartened Job even more. They brought confusion in with the pain. Then comes Elihu. He brought insight and kindness. He encouraged Job by showing Him how God was growing him, refining him, teaching him, and sanctifying him. It helped Job see who he was before God. And it brought God glory.

I have thought a lot about Job recently, devouring passages of Scripture and longing to come to the place in my life where I can be an Elihu to others.

The tongue.

And the tongue is a fire…

A church full of sheep is shackled by a legalistic, angry man who claims to be a shepherd, but proves himself a wolf.

A newly pregnant woman is thrilled to share her delightful news but only finds discouragement when everyone shares their horror stories.

In suffering, the salves offered are quick fixes mingled with how to’s.

A five-year old girl stands firm in the truth which her parents have taught her and is ridiculed by her classmates.

Biting words in an argument.

Gossip. Things said about others when a heart is hurt.

Promises made but not kept.

Words spoken in haste that grind into a soul.

Misunderstandings that leave gaps in friendships.

…it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.

How we use our tongue can bring healing or it can bring ruin. It is so natural for us to want to fix others struggles, when instead they just need a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on. It’s easy to want to give answers right away or expect others to respond the way we would. Rather, we need to be seeking wisdom, seeking God the source of all comfort, so that our words will lift up and not tear down. Proverbs 12:18 says “the tongue of the wise promotes healing.” Promotes it. Seeks it. Makes it important. Knows when to speak, what to say, and when to shut up. I find it easy to speak my mind at times, but I believe that we ought to never miss an opportunity to shut up.

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.

Who have you blessed today?

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