Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Power of a Loose Tongue

We’ve all been disappointed when others have failed to live up to our expectations.  Our tendency is to be angry, resentful and condemning.  Oh, but what opportunities to reflect the love of Jesus!

I was made aware of a situation where some family members were upset with others because they had failed to attend their annual family reunion.  In situations like this,

We have two choices when it comes to how we portray someone to others:
to shed the best light possible on the person we are talking about
to make their life, with details that we do not know or understand,
our business and shed a bad light on them in the face of others.

In this situation those two options would look something like this:
·        lovingly and positively putting them in a good light:  “I haven’t talked to them so I don’t know why they are not here.  But, I’m sure that they have reasons that are important to them.”
·        hatefully and arrogantly putting them in a bad light:  “I guess they think that what they are doing is more important than family.  We don’t need them here anyway.  We’re the ones who are doing the right thing by being here!”

Unfortunately, the latter option was chosen in this situation:  One family member was so upset that he blurted out something hurtful about the missing members in front of the entire crowd and immediately wished he hadn’t said it.  Another family member took it upon himself to get on the phone to find out why the missing members weren’t there and then proceeded to share with those in attendance the “poor excuse” that the black sheep had for not being there!

I’m not writing about family reunions, necessarily.  Instead, I’m writing about the power of a loose tongue.  I hope that my response to being made aware of this situation can be helpful to those who find themselves in any situation where they have an option to build up or to destroy another person.  Here was my response:

While I’ve missed a lot of family reunions, I have been at some.  At those reunions there were other family members who were not there.  It never dawned on me to be upset with them because of that.  Why would I be upset?  I don’t get that!  It never dawned on me to call them and ask them where they were.  While I may have missed seeing them, I never considered it my business to know  where they were or why they weren’t there.

We are all at different places in our lives as a result of the various experiences that we’ve had, how our personalities deal with things, what’s important to us, etc.  Because of this, we all respond to situations differently (attending or not attending family reunions is the example at hand) and we deserve that right.  No matter what our reasons are and whether others agree or not, those reasons are important to that individual.

·        Maybe they weren’t there because there is something/someone at the reunion that troubles them and they are not ready to deal with it yet.  Isn’t that ok?
·        Maybe they weren’t there because physically or emotionally it is too much for them.  Isn’t that ok?
·        Maybe they weren’t there because they woke up that morning and said, “You know what?  I don’t feel like doing this today.”  Isn’t that ok?

Whatever their reasons, those reasons are ok in my eyes.  In fact, their reasons for not being there may be healthier than why some people feel a need to be there!  Regardless, according to His Word, it is our responsibility, as God’s children to cover what we perceive as another’s offense:

Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
Proverbs 17:9

Shedding the best light on others in every situation helps to build them up and prevents division not only between you and them, but between them and others.  Shedding a negative light on others breeds destruction first and foremost in our relationship with our Creator (Isaiah 59:2 & Matthew 5:23).  In addition, it breeds destruction of not only that person, but between you and them and between them and their relationship with others. 

“The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eats it fruit!”
Proverbs 18:21


P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845

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