Tongues of Fire

Our words have a considerable impact. They are capable of causing good and evil, they can build up and tear down. Most importantly, they leave a long-lasting impression on those around us and reveal our true character.

In my workplace, I am sometimes saddened to witness adults act out the same scenes we see on the playground. We let ourselves be drawn to coffee/cigarette break conversations where whisperings, complaints, criticism, and rumors are eagerly circulated.

We should ask ourselves, “How many times have we hurt a relationship with a colleague, friend, family member or spouse because we were unable to control our words?”

The Bible tells us that the tongue is a little member with extraordinary power; indeed, it is a small fire that can burn an entire forest. As the helm is tiny in comparison to the entire ship, the tongue by itself controls our destination. (James 3:4-5)

According to the philosopher Socrates, there are three questions all people should ask themselves before saying something:

  • Am I sure that what I am going to say is true?
  • Is what I am going to say a good thing?
  • Do I really need to say it and is it useful?

These three filters constitute an excellent guide for both what we will say and what we will listen to.

Today, I encourage you to examine your words, for they are the reflection of what moves us and have a much greater impact than we realize, especially on ourselves. In listening, we choose what words we allow to fill our minds; in speaking, we choose how we wish to fill others’ minds.