Monday, January 13, 2014

A Sharp Tongue

A "sharp tongue" is usually associated with prevarication. Those who lie are said to have "a sharp tongue". However, the tongue is a weapon of mass destruction used in other ways as well.

Psalm 52:2 "The tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully."

The tongue is a weapon. The Bible likens it to a sword. It's capable of spreading deceit, but the main use of the tongue in wicked people is for "cutting remarks". Some have a critical spirit and their tongue is the medium which takes that criticism from thought to incision.

A person with a "critical spirit" is one who judges adversely, harshly and unfairly. It's a personality trait. Such people are antagonistic and are the provoking parents, wives, husbands, friends and of course enemies. A critical spirit makes enemies of friends. We all must overlook biting criticism, but it's difficult to overlook continual negativism.

As an example, let's say one's daughter makes a fairly neutral statement such as "I wish my bedroom walls were pink.". A normal response would be "Why pink?" A critical person may respond "You're never happy with anything!" It's a short swath of the sword, but it's a provoking statement and is the "first shot" in the new battle just starting! The daughter becomes rightfully defensive and puts up her shield of defense: "I like pink, but am ready for a change!" Mom or Dad replies "You'll have to pay for it yourself!" Although the daughter has yet to ask for anything, the parent just made an unfair supposition. Tempers flare and war ensues! What was once a cranky negative conversation may escalate into screaming and cursing. It's just not worth it, but that's the way some people live their lives. People make sharp statements and start wars wherever they go, most often with those they love!

Many use a critical spirit as a defense mechanism. Those who are speaking to one perceived to be more intelligent or knowledgeable may use biting remarks to conceal their own short-comings. For instance, if person #1 says "The snow is deep!", person #2 may say in a snappy manner "It's not as deep as it was before it packed!" Person #2 has just tried to "one up" person #1. It's a shallow way of putting a person down. Most often Person #2 is insecure with his own education, job, intelligence, position or whatever. Knowing themselves to be less  knowledgeable is why they are ill with another. Person #2 sub-consciously wants person #1 to feel badly.  Person #1 does in fact feel badly, and in the future, endeavors to avoid person #2 or to avoid conversations with that person.

How do others respond to those with a negative disposition; a critical spirit? Others, after a learning curve, avoid conversation which leads to conflict, oftentimes saying as little to the provocator as possible. Within a family unit, attitudes seeth, conversation ceases and dysfunction is the norm. Everyone just lost the war, but the instigator. This family now acts just like Satan wants them to act. Satan pleasures in seeing people at odds with one another. The critical person doesn't realize it, but they just obeyed a trick of Satan!

Look at Paul's warning about this type of communication:

Galatians 5:14 "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."

Loving "thy neighbour" is loving others! It includes friends, spouses, and even that daughter!  A critical tongue provokes. "Ye bite and devour one another!" By warring with those a person must love, people consume each other. One person destroys another with the ready biting tongue until what relationship existed is consumed. Rather than loving one another, at most, the relationship becomes adversarial in nature. All lose! God is forlorn and Satan is ecstatic!

  1. James 1:26 "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain."
  2. James 3:5 "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!"
  3. James 3:8 "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God."
Not only do those evil have a critical tongue, but also those who are Christians do as well. If one seems "to be religious" an unloving heart is exposed by a critical tongue. By professing Christ, but failing to control the tongue, "the man's religion is in vain". It is for naught! How can "bless we God" with the same tongue that "therewith curse we men"?  A poison tongue is a sign of a currupt heart.

Oh, what are we to do? Tame the tongue? Put a bridle on it? "The tongue no man can tame!" Taming of the tongue is a result of a loving heart. To change negative dispositions one must change from a judgmental person to a loving person. Love can be achieved. That's what the Holy Spirit does. He can change our disposition. We can go from a hateful Christian to one who loves by seeking the will of God! His will is that we have loving relationships, joy-filled marriages and happy families. He wants genuine friendships where we treat others as we desire to be treated.

It takes sorrow, contrition and forgiveness to have a changed heart. Then God will change you!  Consider scripture, pray and seek the will of God! Quit putting "self" over others. Getting in the  last jab at the other may end the discussion, but the critical person just lost the battle. The critical person with a hateful heart always loses in the end. Joy replaces envy when one empathizes rather than criticizes!

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