Monday, July 5, 2004

A Gentle Answer

by Donna L. Watkins
Originally Published in A Healing Moment

How often my mouth gets carried away in a life of its own. In my quiet time with the Lord I have often come across devotionals or Scripture relating to the power of the tongue. James 3:6 says “it is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

What power it has in our lives. It doesn’t take me much time to think back on today, or yesterday, or many years in the past, how my tongue has set a fire. It’s so easy to “let it all fly” around family. For me, that’s only my husband now. Our son is grown and living halfway across the country from us. We have all grown up a lot and he sees how his own mouth stirred up strife as mentioned in Proverbs 18:6-7. “A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.”

Interesting how one mouth tempts another to argument and in the process we all become fools. God’s way out of that is Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

This is such great wisdom. When you determine that your mouth will not be evil ‘just for today’ and focus on every word you are saying, the evil one will make sure you run into many opportunities for practice. Don’t you know people like the fool above? Those that are just looking for somebody to argue with or rant to.

When somebody says something that would usually upset you, and you make the choice to take control over your tongue and give a soft answer, it is an amazing thing! They are looking for somebody to share their misery and when you change the subject to something pleasant, rather than joining in to provide fuel on their burning fire, they become more and more frustrated.

Not allowing yourself to be burned up with somebody else’s mouth will make a real difference on your health. You can’t listen to negative talk without being affected. They will most likely move on to somebody else who is willing to wallow with them, but some of them will take it as a challenge to “convert” you to their way of thinking and will rant for hours if you allow it.

With that type of person, you will have to remove yourself from the situation or boldly tell them that you have some health issues and have chosen to think on good things because you notice it makes a difference in your health. I have had to do that with family members. There are people that you can’t dump out of your life so you have to inform them of your own boundaries.

“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4

You cannot associate with these people and stay healthy. Consider Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Listening to a mouth that spews and reviews the evil of the world crushes the spirit and a crushed spirit dries the bones.

Do you know that the defenses for the body are manufactured in the liquid marrow of the bones? If your bones “dry up” your immune system is greatly affected and in our world today, we know that immune problems are rampant.

Bone marrow is the spongy material found in the center of most large bones in the body. Bone marrow produces red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets and it will only do so if it is healthy.

What we see, hear, think and say has a tremendous effect on our body, mind and obviously our health. Is it no wonder that I gave up newspapers and news programs many years ago? There are times at somebody’s home or while traveling that I ‘catch’ a segment of the news and I really notice what it does to my thought life and how I feel after listening to the evil. Sometimes people have had so many years of evil news that they block their emotions. Numb to the horrors of the images, but I believe the mind still has to deal with it.

Isaiah 33:15b-16: “[he] who stops his ears from hearing of blood, and shuts his eyes from looking at evil - he will dwell on high. His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks. His bread will be supplied. His waters will be sure.”

“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” Proverbs 15:30

Purpose today to be the bearer of good news. You will give health to yourself and those around you.

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