Sunday, 28 August 2011

Tongue and Tone

This past week has been a good one for me.  I have enjoyed being with my family.  As is within families sometimes the way in which we speak to each other is not always the very best.  I decided to dig up this article from May 2007 and re-read it and share it here with you.  I was inspired to write it after reading Silver Boxes - The Gift of Encouragement. May it bless you as it has blessed me.

A little word in kindness spoken,
A motion or a tear,
Has often healed the heart that’s broken,
And made a friend sincere.
Then deem it not an idle thing
A pleasant word to speak;
The face you wear – the thoughts you bring-
The heart may heal or break.

From “A Little Word”         

By Daniel Clement Colesworthy
(14 July 1810 – 1893)

She opens her mouth in skilful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].  Proverbs 31:26 Amp

Tongue:  discourse, speech, language, dialect, idiom, the power of speech, manner or style of speaking,
Tone: Sound in relation to quality, volume, duration and pitch, characteristic sound, disposition, mood, characteristic style or tendency, expressive of feeling,
Words: A communication, a message, information, command, signal, direction, intention, Language used in anger, rebuke or otherwise emotional.  A term, expression, account, promise

Pro 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it  shall eat  the fruit  thereof.

What are words: 
They convey our desires, fears, and thoughts.  They are easily ambiguous and can be misunderstood.  Their purpose is to transfer ideas, impart knowledge, to break down barriers,
Our words flow one way   from us to others, once spoken they are gone forever, the thought is sown.  We can never retrieve them.  The meaning can get lost so easily so we need to select suitable words, be clear and articulate of the intended message.

Speak too much ? Don’t say enough ?
Are we unfair in our words ?
  •  To him who answers a matter before it is heard to him it is shame.
Are we sarcastic and bitter?
  • Proverbs 12:18  There are those who speak rashly, like the piercing of a sword,
  • Proverbs 15 : 4  but wilful contrariness in it breaks down the spirit.
Are we ungodly in our speech ?
  • Ephesians 5:4  Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful ( silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness (to God).
  • James 3: 8-10  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
  • Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
  • Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing, My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
Are we defiling ourselves?
  • Matthew 15:11 It is not what goes into the mouth of a man that makes him unclean and defiled, but what comes out of the mouth; this makes a man unclean and defiles him.
  • Matthew 15 : 18  But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles him.
Defile: to make foul or dirty, to tarnish, corrupt the purity of, to violate the chastity of, to profane, to pollute, unclean, common, shared by all, unholy, to render foul.

Are we using our words to gossip ?

Gossip:  One who runs from house to house, with idle talk, habitually indulges, idle, saying things we ought not to, keeps quarrels alive often with malicious intent, empty worthless talk,
  • Proverbs 13:3 but he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
  • Proverbs 18:8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds and they go down into the inner most parts of the belly.
What should we be doing?

Gates across our lips:
  • Psalm 141.3  Set a guard, O Lord, before my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.
  • Proverbs 21:23  he who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from troubles
  • Proverbs 13:3 he who guards his mouth keeps his life,
Judge not…… 
  • Matthew 7:1-3 Judge not that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
We have a responsibility as older women to be discreet in our words,
  • Psalm 19.14  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, ….
We need to prepare our minds for action, be self controlled, Be positive, focus on the goodness of our God, His loving kindness and pass it on to our children,
  • Psalm 107.21 & 22 Oh, that men would praise and confess to the Lord for His goodness and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men!
  • And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanks giving and rehearse His deeds with shouts of joy and singing!
  • Hebrews 13.15  Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.
Be gentle
  • Proverbs 15 : 4  A gentle tongue [with its healing power] is a tree of life, but wilful contrariness in it breaks down the spirit.
  • Proverbs 12:18  but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
How does this appear in our day to day living:
  1. Search out the scriptures Proverbs (Pro = positive   Verbs = actions ) and Deut are a good place to start
  2. Give positive instruction, fill their hearts with what they aught to be doing rather then what they are not to do   i.e. “Please put your feet on the floor” as an alternative to “Don’t put your feet on the couch.”
  3. Never give a command unless you intend for it to be obeyed.  (GKGW 151) Say what you mean and mean what you say or you will be encouraging children that will nag you till you change your mind.  [Double mindedness makes us unstable in all our ways {James}
  4. Be direct, don’t ask their permission …..“Ok” 
  5. “Do you have the freedom to do that?” & “I am sorry I don’t have the freedom to do that”
  6. Give them the moral reason why. (Deut a good place to start to fill your moral warehouse as to the reason why.)
  7. Take time to enter their private world, remember to do more listening here than talking as the adage goes don’t be a bull in a china shop!
  8. Verbalize your love for each child and your spouse in their love language
  9. The interrupt rule – respect and honour to those older
  10. Cultivate best friends in siblings (GKGW 237 – 238)
  11. Respect for property – ask permission (GKGW 137 – 140)
  12. Moral Innocence – guidance on how to answer those big questions.
  13. Obedience – “Yes mommy”  without challenge or complaint
  14. Be assertive don’t become a threatening and complaining parent (GKGW 149 – 150)
  15. Your attitude sets the tone for your family.  So what is the fragrance of your home ? Be the thermostat and not the thermometer.
  16. Pre-activity talks (GKGW 167) – let them know what you expect, draw them to the standard. There is good, better and best.  Talk about the differences.
  17. Exchanging common courtesies “yes please”  “no thank you”, looking at one another.
  18. Couch time – not interrupting the time you and your spouse are together.
  19. Commend them for character not action.  i.e.  not “Thank you for being a good girl” but rather “Well done for waiting patiently”.
  20. Be careful of getting into the habit of bribing (GKGW  149-150) “If you are good in the store today I will buy you a lollie”
  21. Don’t use scare tactics on your children you will undermine their trust in you eg “If you are naughty in the store today I will call the police to come and get you”   These sorts of statements establish a false and improper motivation for obedience.
  22. Keep watch!  Training children to restrain their unkind speech is one of the most overlooked areas in our parenting.
  23. Whining (GKGW 228 - 230) is an unacceptable form of communication.  It is often a subtle challenge of your parental authority.  Persistent and uncorrected whining can wear down the best of mothers. Be firm no whining !  Provide a positive alternative e.g. with a child not speaking yet teach them simple sign language.  In older children firmly but gently say “No whining” then have the child repeat what it is you want them to say.  Once this is established when an older child whines, have them wait a few minutes and ask again with out whining.
  24. As with what we learned in : ‘Red cup Blue cup’ last month beware that you don’t fall into the trap of constantly negotiating every instruction (GKGW 5 : 150/1)
  25. Re-read Chapter 10 in GKGW manual: Discipline with Encouragement. (161-170)
  26. Remember more is caught then taught they will not take on board that which you have not mastered yourself.  Your children will reflect what they see in much the same way that a mirror reflects you.
Ephesians 4:29  Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever ] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favour) to those who hear it.

Some books to read:
1. Proverbs 
2. Deuteronomy 
3. Silver BoxesFlorence Littauer
4. Me and My Big Mouth – Joyce Meyer.

Remember it is the mighty oak which doth from a little acorn grow.  What you do today you will reap the fruit of tomorrow.

What resources have you used in the past to tame your tongue and encourage you ?

Blessings my Friends. May your week ahead be seasoned with His grace and may the meditations of your hearts be acceptable to Him.

This article was written by me originally for a GEMS (Godly Encouragement ofr MotherS) presentation in Christchurch New Zealand. 
It has been published in the GEMS Facets Journal Vol 14 which is still available for purchase.

Others Blogging about their Tongue and Tone

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