Lately, I have noticed that I am biting my tongue more than I have done in the past.
For example, this past summer because of a misunderstanding regarding one of my many children’s activities, we ended up missing a fun outing for the family and paying for it. I was soooooo upset about this. I wrote an e-mail expressing my frustration about what happened, and the board for the organization considered refunding our money. I found out later, as I suspected, that they would not refund us. I wanted to give them a good tongue lashing about their lack of concern for their members. I started to write about 6 different messages. Finally, I just wrote, “Thanks for asking the board about this.”
I find myself holding back my thoughts more and more as time passes. I have finally started to realize that saying everything that comes to my mind will not always make things better and is not always necessary.
We start out as children saying any and everything that comes to our minds. Then some of us get shy and don’t say much of anything. There are others of us who continue speaking our minds with wild abandon, and we wonder why we have trouble getting along with people. Pop-psychology encourages us to “communicate,” “get everything out in the open,” “make sure our feelings are known.” This sometimes opens up the shy person and it affirms the others who already value telling all. Yet, it seems there is still some value to filtering what we say.
It is an idea worth consideration. James wrote a lot about it:
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
[ Taming the Tongue ] Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!
And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Some people, perhaps, have more natural, or built-in, filters of what comes out of their mouths. But I suspect most of us have to learn to use discretion. As we get to know Christ and come to a fuller understanding of what is important, the filter begins to form. As Christians, I think some of this has to do with the idea of “bearing each others burdens,” too. Hopefully, as we mature, we learn that sometimes, we need to keep our hurt feelings and bruised egos to ourselves in the spirit of Christian unity–thus biting our tongues for the sake of others.