Let’s focus on controlling what can become our worst enemy our tongues. Let’s say no to gossip and to all the other hurtful things that we can say to others! The people around us are very precious. When we are down, others can help us get up. When we are sad, others will cheer us up. When we feel we cannot go on, others will motivate us and encourage us. There is a proverb that says: “He who throws stones drives away birds; he who insults a friend breaks up the friendship.” Nobody is an island. We all need each other, especially when we are lonely or sad. But if we scare away everyone who cares for us by misusing our tongues, then we will inevitably find ourselves very alone.
When we misuse the tongue, it harms us and others. We need to realize the importance of avoiding its bad habits. With the tongue we: lie, gossip, give away secrets and speak angry words. All these things will result in us becoming increasingly lonely. Why? Because people try to avoid pain at any cost, and lies, gossip, angry words and the betrayal of secrets hurt. Nobody likes pain, so we cannot blame people who drift away and avoid us if we have hurt them.
Sometimes the damage done by our words is obvious, and sometimes it is not. But the damage is not any less because we cannot see it. If we want loyal, caring, good friends, we have to be one ourselves. We need to be careful, so we do not lose all those people who love us. When we gossip and lie, we destroy the peace of those around us, and good people will after that do anything to avoid us. The only ones who will be left around us will be other gossips and liars, who will sooner or later end up gossiping or lying about us.
The rule is simple: If we have nothing nice to say, it’s better to say anything at all. This does not mean that we don’t criticize or admonish the people we love. Criticism given in love is helpful and valuable. When our intention is to help and make things better, we still need to think carefully before saying it, and if we are still convinced it is a good thing to do, we can go ahead and speak. But if we are going to say something out of anger, jealousy, envy or revenge, or when the intention is to hurt, then our words are better not said. We must always think before we talk!
The tongue can do a great deal of damage, but the tongue can also do a great deal of good as long as it is controlled by love. Without love, nothing can bring us good, but every action inspired by love, even if it seems small and unimportant, will bring some fruit afterward. Let’s make an effort to control our tongues. Any time we are trying to accomplish something of value, every time we want to do something good, we need to put effort in it. After a while, all our efforts will pay off and the results of our efforts will be good because when a good thing is repeated several times, then it becomes a habit. Let’s make it a habit to use our tongues for loving, encouraging, motivating, congratulating and everything else that is good. We can change the world, one word at a time!
Wisdom to contemplate:
“The tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions. Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna…With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. This need not be so, my brothers. Does a spring gush forth from the same opening both pure and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, produce olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can salt water yield fresh.” (James 3:5-6,9-12)
“He tells the truth who states what he is sure of, but a lying witness speaks deceitfully.” (Proverbs 12:17)
“He who guards his mouth protects his life; to open wide one’s lips brings downfall.” (Proverbs 13:3)