I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve heard this phrase… I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve said this phrase. One thing I do know is how true it is and how with just the tone of our voices we can lift up our brothers and sisters or we can tear them down… way down. It may just be my over sensitive hormones and the fact that a commercial on TV or a song on the radio can bring me to tears right now, or perhaps it’s an epiphany from God. A way for him to show me just how powerful my tone of voice can be, I was on the receiving end of quite the lashing a few days ago and I know that the person that lashed out didn’t mean it but it really hit me hard. I spent the next few minutes after they were finished going through my emotions: sad that I’d upset this person, mad that they’d lashed out, then into uncontrollable crying and sobbing and not being able to explain to my husband why I was crying. The crying lasted about 20 minutes as witnesses asked me if I was ok… Just a side note, when you see a pregnant woman trying to fight back tears asking her if she’s ok is just a good way to get those tears to start flowing again! After we got home and I was able to actually talk to Chance about it the tears and why I was crying it all came again, the tears and sobs, don’t ask me why I can’t give you an answer… just that they started and they wouldn’t stop. Eventually they did and I got over it, as much as I could.
So now on to my epiphany, is this the way that I make people feel when I get an annoyed tone with them? Have I ever caused someone to cry at the sound of my words or the words that I’ve said? Have they dwelt on what I have said to them for days and wondered what they ever could have done wrong to cause me to treat them in such a way? Lord help me I hope not. I’m afraid though that I have and that I’ve done it not realizing the extent of what I’d done… with just my words. The Bible talks about ‘Taming the Tongue’ in James chapter 3 verses 1-12:
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.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. 11Can 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.
No human being can tame the tongue… just let that sink in… we can’t tame our tongues, we can only seek God’s help in making sure that only good things and uplifting words come from our mouths. A salt spring cannot produce fresh water. The saying from my childhood comes to mind, we’ve all heard it and said it before “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” this is the furthest from the truth. Broken bones and cuts heal, once the casts and bandages are gone so is the hurt that went with it, you may never forget what was done but the pain eventually is gone. Words cut deeper than any knife and linger longer than any bone can take to heal. Words are never forgotten and can last a lifetime.
I started thinking about all the times that Chance has told me about my “tone”. I never realized that I was using a tone but to think that I might have shown him disrespect in just a tone of voice makes me wonder how many others have I disrespected with just my tone. Then I got to thinking about Sawyer and when he gets big enough to ask me something and I’m already annoyed at something else and I answer him with annoyance in a sarcastic or condescending tone, will he still want to come to me and ask me things? Will he be afraid to ask me questions for fear that I’ll lash out with annoyance? I pray that I can make a change before my son has to hear that. I pray that I can start thinking of my mood before I speak and potentially ruin someone’s day; I pray that God can help me get a hold of my own tongue and never make someone feel inferior or less of the amazing person that he created just from my words. I know that I definitely need a lot of help in this department, just yesterday when buying fabric for Sawyer’s room the lady at the fabric store was quite rude about me placing a special order and well I am my mother’s daughter and when the lady got snotty so did my mom and then I started to… I ended up sending my mom out to start the car so that all 3 of us didn’t get into a scuffle and by the end the lady had straightened up and I got a discount on the fabric I’d had to order. Not because she was that nice but that’s just how the computer rang it up. As I left I thanked her and told her to have a good day and I actually meant it, I was not just saying it spitefully like I’ve done in the past. It wasn’t the lady’s fault that she was the only cashier and the only other person working in the store was cutting the fabric for all the other customers, they truly did need more help.
So there you have it, my epiphany if you’ll let me have it that way. God is working on me still and if any of you are reading this and have been victim to me and my tone, tongue, or condescending words please accept my deepest apologies. I want to leave you with a song from Hawk Nelson called “Words”, I’ve tried to add the video into this post but it might just be the YouTube link. In the song he says “Words can build us up, words can tear us down, start a fire in our hearts or put it out”… I don’t want to be the one that puts out a fire in someone’s heart; I want to be the one that helps lift them up and keep that fire burning. Have a blessed day friends.