The Taming of My Tongue, Part Two
If you’ve been reading here for a while, you might remember the tale I shared back in March about my bout with thrush, of all things, and how it helped me work on a sinful habit: unkind speech. [Yes, I know it’s not fashionable to refer to habits as “sinful.” But this behavior of mine, oh, yes. Sinful is the word for it.]
I mused about the state of my speech the other day and at first I convinced myself that I’d made tremendous progress. The harsh tones burst forth less frequently now, and when they do escape, I am more likely to notice it quickly, swallow hard, ask for forgiveness, and speak in a more gentle tone.
Yup. I allowed myself a moment of self-satisfied back-patting.
Then I sent a co-worker an email. “Madame X’s name wasn’t on that spreadsheet of clients you created. I went ahead and added it.”
That evening, I peered into the fridge. I’d asked my husband, Rich to pick up eggs and milk at the grocery store earlier in the afternoon. “You forgot the milk,” I said.
“You’re right; I did. I can go get it now.” He reached for his keys.
“No matter,” I answered. “I’ll just get some on my way home tomorrow.”
Later that night, a queasy feeling settled over me. Why had I sent that email to my hardworking colleague, pointing out a minor–so minor–error, that I’d already corrected? Why did I feel the need to point out to my husband that he’d forgotten to buy milk at the store, if we could manage without it?
I don’t enjoy being bludgeoned with my own imperfections, my own lapses, my own, well–humanity–and I bet nobody else does, either. So if it’s over, done with, and corrected, I need say . . .
That familiar feeling of conviction settled on my heart. Maybe my tone is less snappy, but I’m far from over this toxic tongue syndrome.
And furthermore, I thought to myself, that progress so far–is that really to your credit?
Truth is, I can’t do this on my own. I need God. I need His power, His grace, His work in my stony heart.
I need His holy fire extinguisher on my scorching tongue.
Come, Lord Jesus. Come.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6 (NASB)