The Tongue


Magical Madge on the Ole Miss campus. Photo by DB

Magical Madge on the Ole Miss campus. Photo by DB

That little ole wet, tasting muscle, which hangs out in our mouth, serves more than just to detect flavors and foods; it is a veritable life sustainer or life crusher. We can either edify others with its use or we can destroy them with the words emanating from it.

It has been written that in the abundance of words sin is not lacking, meaning in layman’s parlance: the more one “runs that lip” the more likely he is to sin with his words.

Love often begins and ends with words; fights begin with words; feelings are hurt via words; and spirits are crushed with but a single breath.

Who among us does not acutely remember the exact words and the long-retained feelings associated with the use of the tongue in ways that diminished us in days of old? Pontificus can remember almost every hurtful phrase someone said to him when he was young, and when he was old.

Last week Pontificus was in the Oxford Wal-Mart parking lot when he heard a lady (hmmm?) shout out loudly from the driver’s seat of her pickup truck, “Move yo punk ass!” Who was the recipient of this diatribe? An elderly, overweight lady who was trying to cross to the sidewalk as quickly as possible was the object of this disgraceful discourse.

Not two days later, Pontificus would find his tongue making a non-vitriolic statement, and while not seemingly at the level of the lady in Oxford, it was nonetheless egregious.

James wrote, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

Everyone wants to be loved; I don’t care how hard and callous one presents herself, she wants to be loved. The deep-seated desire to be accepted, recognized, and praised for things well done is a metaphysical certitude.

We can make or break someone’s day with just one word. Pontificus needs to put a surer governor over his tongue. May his words speak the very things he desires to hear concerning him–words of encouragement and edification.



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