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How Do We Use Our Tongues?

Holy Scripture encourages us to be careful about what we say. We are told to avoid gossip (Romans 1: 29, NIV); not to babble on when we pray (Matthew 6:7); to refrain from unwholesome talk but to speak words that help build others up (Ephesians 4:29); to be quick to listen and slow to speak — and to bridle our tongues (James 1:19, 26); to restrain our lips (Proverbs 10:19). And there are numerous other verses and passages of scripture about what to say, what not to say — the use of our tongues.

With the rampant use of social media, we seem more apt to “talk” in a negative way than we would have before social media’s advent. We sometimes surround ourselves with the illusion that expressing something via email or text gives us the option of saying things we probably wouldn’t say over the telephone or in person.

In thinking about the subject of scripture’s instructions on talking (maybe “communicating” is the better term in today’s world), I came across a verse not ordinarily considered in this kind of discussion. In Proverbs 31:8, we read: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

As a lawyer, this verse struck a chord with me. I would like to think there have been times when I spoke up for those not able to speak for themselves, maybe even for the destitute. But, most of the time, I was paid to do so. This verse from Proverbs is not addressed to lawyers but to all of God’s people.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.” When we concern ourselves with how we talk or communicate from a scriptural standpoint, don’t forget this verse. It speaks of a powerful way to use our tongues.

2 comments… add one
  • John B. Phillips October 24, 2015, 11:24 PM

    Thank you, Nancy, for your comment. Coming from you, it means a lot, and I agree with what you said.
    I must admit that I stumbled on Proverbs 31:8. I don’t remember it as something I had learned or seen earlier. That always makes me wonder what else is in scripture I’ve never read.

  • Nancy Coleman October 23, 2015, 9:51 PM

    Thank you for your comments about the tongue. It seems in today’s society many make comments about those in our society that need help for various reasons. Somehow it seems they feel free to lump the “have nots” into one group which they label as “lazy”. I believe we need to be careful how we make such judgements. Thank you for bringing to our attention the Proverbs 31:8 verse that tells us we should speak up for those who are destitute and can’t speak for themselves.

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