Bridle thy tongue, my friend

” The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating. The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives.The words of gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.” Proverbs 18:6-8

One of my colleagues, JC, really needs to watch her tongue.

She talks carelessly and loudly, pronounces premature judgment on people, and instructs others with her own unyielding law.

This morning, she has landed one of my other colleagues into trouble because of her flippant words. In her attempt to “get chummy with” a consultant in the coffee room, she carelessly told him that one of the staff grades had “dumped an unstable patient on me last night.” Now I know the staff grade in question and he is a responsible doctor who would never have left unless he was happy with his patients post-op, but JC has now landed him in deep waters without actually meaning to! You could tell that she totally did not expect the consultant to pursue the matter (which he has promised he would as he found it unacceptable), and kept shying away from his questions on the circumstances around what happened last night.

Such a little act of carelessness, of trying to build oneself up, of trying to boot-lick… yet it could cause so much potential damage. Damage to another person’s reputation and credibility, and even potential damage to this person’s career!

The Chinese aptly put it: 禍從口出- from the mouth comes forth trouble. The human tongue is but such a small part of our entity, yet it possesses such great power. It is a double-edged sword. Words of comfort, encouragement and edification can come forth from it, yet we often choose to hurt others with criticism and gossip. Do not let the very tongue that sings praises and mutters prayer be contaminated by words of slander and gossip.

Consider your words, bridle your tongue. It is better to be wise and silent, than to be a loud-mouthed fool.

“Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity” Proverbs 21:23

May the Lord watch over my tongue daily.

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