The ubiquitous tongue

Thursday, July 06, 2006

James 3:4-8
4Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So 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! 6And 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. 7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

I felt slighted by a friend recently, with words shot point blank without first checking. Obviously I was most unhappy but decided to do the opposite - reticence. The air is already bad, although I don't think this person knows it; and I rather it not get worse. So I have decided to keep mum over it.

I was checking out some proverbs and found this:

The Taming of the Tongue by Leonard Ravenhill
Until recently, we were pretty much in the dark about the human body. But then came the X-ray with its peeping eye...a marvelous instrument which has saved us much human misery. It was able to show us the human heart, but it couldn't show us the soul or it could show us the throat, but not the voice. The brain, but not the mind. Nevertheless, medical science has done much to help this outward man that perishes. If our eyes are getting dim, we can get glasses. If our kidneys or heart fail, we can have a transplant. But as far as I know, there is one member of the body that has never been transplanted. If we used our arms and legs as much as we use this part, we'd be incredibly stiff and sore. But this member never gets tired, and I've never seen one with a splint on it. As you get older you may get dentures - but you will always have the same tongue you were born with! There are artificial joints made these days, but no artificial tongues.

For more, read it here.

And some other interesting sayings and proverbs:

The human tongue is more poisonous than a bee's sting. ~ Vietnamese saying

The tongue has no bones, yet it breaks bones. ~ Greek saying

口是傷人斧, 舌是割肉刀.
Your mouth is like an axe, and your tongue a butcher's knife. ~ Chinese saying

Better slip with foot than tongue. ~ Ben Franklin

巧言不如直道, 明人不必細說.
Righteousness is better than cunning words, A sensible person speaks carefully. ~ Chinese saying

Give thy thoughts no tongue. ~ William Shakespeare

Having two ears and one tongue, we should listen twice as much as we speak. ~ Turkish saying

Once a word leaves your mouth, you cannot chase it back even with a "chariot drawn by 4 horses." ~ Chinese saying

Turn your tongue seven times in your mouth before you utter a word. ~ Chinese saying

Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage. ~ Anonymous

The tongue speaks, but the head doesn't know. ~ Russian saying

Better to stumble than make a slip of the tongue. ~ Russian saying

Listen or your tongue will keep you deaf. ~ Native American proverb

The wise man has long ears and a short tongue. ~ German proverb

I can't really control how other people will guard their tongue, but I had better guard mine.

Picture by Craig Jewell

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6 comment(s)

  1. Maeghan,

    Amen to all that. It is funny how the chinese proverbs seem so similar to what you find in the book of proverbs. I know that isn't always true, but these in particular would blend right in.

    My tongue and I wrestle a lot. I need to control it a whole lot better than I do. The saddest part if that I do filter most of what I say. I always think, 'if you thought that was bad, you should have heard the rest that I didn't say'... rofl. I'm a sorry sack of bones.

    God Bless

  2. A friend and I laugh about how much we could use a filter so we’d stop saying what we think.

  3. I have so much trouble trouble with my tongue *sigh*.

    Tongue problems seem to be cross-cultural--very interesting!

  4. Hi Doug,
    Interesting what you mentioned about the similarities of the Chinese proverbs with the biblical ones. One reputable pastor was telling us that the Gospel as we know it could have reached China at one point of time in the past. Evidences include:
    - similarities like with Proverbs (the Chinese are very rich in proverbs)
    - language like what I have posted before
    - practices e.g. it is a Chinese custom to have a long piece of red cloth hung over door post, reminiscent of the Passover

    My tongue and I wrestle a lot. I need to control it a whole lot better than I do.
    I on the other hand feel that I talk too much - once I get started on something, I'd go on and on!! LOL

  5. Milly,
    LOL I could use one too!

  6. jettybetty,

    Tongue problems seem to be cross-cultural--very interesting!

    As long as there are opinions and a mouth LOL