Like the small rudder that turns a massive ship, the tongue wields incredible power.
With our tongue we can hurt or heal, kill or make alive. With it we can gossip or encourage, tear down or build up.
Loose Lips Sink Ships
Bad news travels fast. Whether it’s a broken engagement, lost job, pending divorce, or wayward child, curiosity keeps the news cycling.
Keeping tongues silent when they ought to be is hard. Human tendency is to speculate and gossip and try to satisfy curiosity. Learning how to keep confidence takes wisdom.
Lately I’ve been thinking about “loose lips” a lot. Bad news seems to come in waves. The weight of others burdens can feel crushing at times. Sometimes I just want to spill it all. Talking about the problems around me helps me sort through them.
That’s the time to keep this beautiful reminder from Leah in mind, “Have you prayed about it as much as you’ve talked about it?”
When the answer is “No”, it’s time to shut up and pray.
Only rarely does talking about someone else’s problem help the issue. Often it’s nothing more than gossip that can sink ships. Or at least friendships.
Just think what a beautiful testimony it would be if all Christian women took the sad stories we’re entrusted with and brought them before the cross. If we just shut up more often and prayed.
When a Ship Needs Sinking
Sometimes a ship needs sinking though. Sometimes sin needs to be confronted. Sometimes a simple misunderstanding just needs to be cleared up.
But the temptation is to go about it in the wrong way. Instead of taking steps to address the issue, it’s easy to let the problem simmer and talk about it with everyone but the person involved.
When there’s actual sin involved, God’s laid out a pattern to follow to address it (Matt. 18:15).
When it’s simply misunderstandings that pile on top of each other, the best choice is to either forgive and forget or to humbly and honestly address it.
Not too long ago, I let misunderstandings pile up with a friend. When I started complaining about it to Joshua, he said what he usually says in that situation, “Darling, have you talked to her about it?”
And, like usual, my answer was, “No!”
Trouble was, I really, really didn’t want to confront her about it. I was afraid she’d be upset.
Guess what. When I finally broached the subject (after much prayer and trembling), the first thing she said was, “Really? I’ve been wanting to talk to you about this for so long, but didn’t know if you’d want to talk about it.”
Half an hour later we were laughing. We both wanted the exact same thing all along. We had simply misjudged each other for way too long.
Sadly, not all confrontations end quite so happily. But if an issue needs to be addressed, it’s almost always wisest to address it. Humbly. With the person involved.
Controlling Loose Lips
Our tongues are powerful tools. When tongues are properly tamed they can break the cycle of gossip, uplift needs in prayer, resolve misunderstandings, and encourage those around us.
Like the Proverbs 31 woman, the law of the tamed tongue is “a law of kindness.”