Driving in my car a few weeks ago, I heard the end of a gun safety PSA on the radio. “Keep your guns locked up. Be careful when you have them out.” You have probably heard or watched PSAs that were similar.
As I was listening to this particular PSA, I thought to myself, “it would make sense if you exchanged the words ‘gun’ with ‘tongue.'”
Because let’s be honest. We can all get on board with more tongue control!
As I was writing this, a fellow contributor to my blog sent me a possible post that also talks about the power of the tongue. And just like that, a two-part series was born.
Today, I thought I would take the four gun safety rules and use them to relate to the tongue.
- All guns are always loaded.
Matthew 12:34 – “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
Are our tongues loaded or what!
In books or movies, if someone says something insulting during an argument and then apologizes by saying, “I didn’t mean it, I was angry,” I do not believe them. When we’re angry, we let our guard down. We tend to say what we really think. If you load .22 caliber bullets into a gun’s magazine, when you pull that trigger a .22 caliber bullet comes out.
If our hearts and minds are full of hate, that hate will spill out when we’re mad. Being a Christian means continually relying on Christ to “load” our hearts with love, joy, peace and the rest of the fruit of the spirit so that we can be angry and sin not (Eph. 4:26).
- Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
Proverbs 9:8 – “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”
Proverbs 27:6 – “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
These may seem like weird verses to use, but stick with me.
We all have loved ones that make wrong decisions. Sometimes, we have to be the ones to correct them or call out on their attitudes and behaviors. Rebuking and reproving them can make them angry and wound their pride. Speaking the truth can have sad consequences. Families can be broken. Friendships destroyed.
To allow someone to walk down a dangerous path that will harm them in the future is not loving. They may never thank you. They may never forgive. The friendship may never recover. We, however, are called to obey, and we have to give the outcomes and consequences to God.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.
Proverbs 10:31, 32 – “The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.
The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.”
Have you ever said something that unhelpful to a friend going through a difficult time? Yeah, I’ve been there too.
Have you ever told anyone your struggles and they tried to comfort you with a platitude that fell flat? Was their solution to a situation completely off track?
If you want to know if you should answer yes to the above questions, check your pulse or your breathing. If you have either or both of these, the answer is “yes!”
We’ve all been on the receiving end of advice that was more hurtful than helpful. We’ve probably all given advice that wasn’t well received. The person giving the advice can mean well. The words can be spoken in love, and their hearts are in the right place.
Sometimes, what is missing is wisdom and understanding. Maybe the advice isn’t appropriate. The advice is not on target.
Often I have to keep from saying the first humorous thing that pops into my mind when faced with someone’s pain. I want to make them laugh. Make them feel better about life. That’s not always what they need. Sometimes, they just need silence.
- Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
Proverbs 10:19 – “ In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.”
Matthew 12:36 – “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”
A gun cannot be waved around like a conductor’s baton. To do so would be reckless, irresponsible, and dangerous.
Unfortunately, I’m far too likely to throw around my opinions and thoughts haphazardly, off-handedly, and imprudently. In college, I lost a friend over remarks that I made about a celebrity. Though the words were true, they were unnecessary and unkind.
“Wait,” you might be thinking. “Every time we open our mouths, it’s possible to say something wrong.”
Unfortunately, yes. Don’t give up hope though. We may be fools when it comes to our speech, but we have a merciful King.
All verses used are taken from the King James Version and are in the public domain.