My Tongue Still Smolders

I’d Like My Speech to be This Beautiful.

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)