On The Tip of My Tongue

Sharp Tongues Go Dull When Folks Cannot Remember Your Name

I asked Ed yesterday if he could remember the last name of a fellow we both knew in Melville. The fellow had a wife named Ruth, and his first name was Gene, but their last name was not anywhere near the tip of my tongue. Ed remembered the couple as regular coffee drinkers at the Dairy Queen downtown. He could not recall their last name either. He was determined however that the name would come to him and he would tell me the next time we talked.

We discussed that the tongue is powerful but only if there is a memory to go with it. The tongue may have the power of life and death in it for those who have not forgotten who they are talking about. It is said that tongues can grow sharper in old age, but that does not account for those that cannot even remember where their glasses are to be found. Remembering other people’s names may come and go in old age and thus praise, or slander cannot do much harm or good to the nameless.

The tongue is a small member of our body that may boast of great things. It can be like a lit match setting a forest ablaze. It can cause both great good and harm. Bits put into the mouths of horses can guide their whole bodies. There is nothing that humans can put in their mouths to control what comes off their tongue except a gag. Who can completely control their tongue?

The Bible says, “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things ought not to be so.”

The tongue may reflect pride in a heart that has forgotten God. In arrogance, we may speak evil against one another. How can this be when we know God is the only lawgiver and judge? Who are we to judge our neighbors? We struggle and fail to treat our neighbors as we would want to be treated. We can not save and destroy only God can.

Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure, you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but not notice the log that is in your own eye?”

The Bible also warns us not to use our tongues to grumble against one another. Nor should our tongues be used to deceive others, with exaggerations and promises. We should be trustworthy with our yes, a yes, and our no, a no. We should be as good as our word.

Jesus warned that using our tongues for prayer should be done privately not to be seen by others. He said, “When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”  (Keep prayers brief as God knows what we need before we ask).

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