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 (Manna 3)
Bridle Our Tongues
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EVERYONE has a tongue. Apart from tasting food, it enables us to talk.

Some people liken the tongue to a swift sword which can be wielded to do good or to do bad.

Idle talks, gossips and rumours exist because of the unbridled tongue. Where they do exist, friendship is being torn apart. innocent hearts are being hurt, and trust and confidence are being replaced by suspicion and apprehension.

Among us, some are vexed by rumours and some are hurt by the unkind criticisms and vile abuses of others. But have we ever realized that very often we allow ourselves to gossip without considering the feelings of others?

Have we ever pondered over the people that have been hurt by our backbitings, sarcastic remarks and faulty judgment?

Uttering all kinds of evil behind the back of others is a sin which we easily commit. There is so much pleasure when we group together to talk about others and there seems so much to talk about. James therefore has this to say: “…. the tongue is a fire. The tongue is a unrighteous world among our members .... but no human being can tame the tongue — a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (Jas 3:6-8).

Nobody is perfect, yet it is best that we try not to hold prejudiced opinions of others, as there are many facets of truth. Therefore we ought to examine everything carefully, especially rumours. Until we understand the whole situation, we should not make rash conclusions about someone. Otherwise, if our judgment turns out to be wrong, it will not only reflect on our superficiality but will also injure the feelings of many innocent ones.

We should know when to speak and when not to speak. We should speak with care and sincerity. There should never be an ostentatious flaunting of our intelligence when we speak. If we do not speak with care, and without pretence, we might be a thorn to others. Indeed it is most contemptible to hurt others in such a way.

When Michael the archangel, contending with the Devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you” (Jude 9). Take this as a guide; neither speak contemptuously against anyone nor hold prejudiced notions of anybody.

Pray saying: “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Ps 141:3). The Bible warns; “… on the day of judgment, men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Mt 12:36-37).

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