A Silver Tongue

A visit from my sister usually convicts me about how flippant and sarcastic I can still be with someone who *has to* love me despite my ugliness. I don’t know why, but this particular sister always gets the worst of my words (I think Ryan must come in second place for my carelessness). She’ll be telling a story and I’ll interject something terrible that mocks, ridicules, demeans, whatever. She usually looks at me in shock (even though I’ve done it enough times to pacify the shock-effect), and asks, “Why did you just say that?” Her faithful responses and the Holy Spirit always convict me, but I stubbornly indulge in my ugly humor. I hate this pattern. And I’m so ready to live in freedom from this sin (that’s why I’m “going public” with it).

After she left, I sat down to read through the “Communication” chapter in The Excellent Wife and was struck to the core with Scriptures about how wise it is to purify my speech, beginning with a close examination of my heart and ending with a deliberate training of the words I speak (or don’t speak, in most cases!) These Scriptures were most instructive…

And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. Matthew 12: 36-37

The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.  Proverbs 15:28


A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.  Proverbs 15:4.

I learned that every sarcastic and careless word that I speak reveals a part of my heart that I’ve not yet surrendered to Jesus Christ: a “breach” in my spirit that needs God’s healing. When I examined why I spoke what I thought was funny but knew was hurtful (my friend calls these things “death-humor”), I realized that I’ve never confessed and sought transformation of the “death-humor” that I’ve entertained in movies, TV shows, comedic shows, and conversations. For example, I remember thinking that Adam Sandler’s “Goat-boy” skits (a college-kid favorite) were hilarious, but in listening to them, I wasn’t guarding my heart; instead, I was feeding my love for sarcasm and unknowingly preparing myself for the mean quips that I throw at people who I really do love. So, this is where I began my confession.

I’ve agreed to the process of putting aside anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from my mouth (Col. 3:8), through confessing, meditating on relevant Scripture, and actually practicing kind words… And being grateful when people who love me ask, “Why’d you just say that?” One day, may I be one of those women who has so surrendered her words to Jesus Christ that everything she speaks is a precious gift…

She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver… Proverbs 10: 20






4 responses to “A Silver Tongue”

  1. Noelle Avatar

    I struggle with the same thing. It is so easy to say negative, sarcastic, hurtful words to siblings. Why is that? I hate it! I guess satan has plotted against healthy sibling relationships since the very beginning, starting with Cain and Able. It is rampant in society today. God says that we cannot love Him unless we love our brother (1 John). One verse that I want to begin to pray more is Ps. 141:3-“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Who can tame the tongue (James 3)? We all sin with our tongues and need God to help us as we battle to speak what is right.
    The whole sarcasm thing I can totally sympathize with. I kind of have a dry wit and that usually comes out in sarcastic comments. I want to discover how to use my dry wit in a way that is not tearing down, ’cause humor is good when used right. I mean, God created humor and dry wit. He must be more funny that any of us! Now there’s a thought!

  2. Grandmom Avatar

    Sometimes I think that sarcasm is our way to make a point when we don’t have the courage or thoughtfulness or right words to communicate, carefully, the issue with the “intended target.” Something like a poet…who can only communicate his deepest feelings through poetry. As Christians, though, it truly is important to adjust at the thinking level thereby reshaping the feeling level, and finally, controlling our verbal expression. (“As a man thinketh, so he is” ) It is the thinking level…that must be brought under Christ first…to see another as Christ sees him…oh, to have the mind of Christ! Forgive me if I have not modelled this !
    Thanks for the wonderful insights!

  3. admin Avatar

    I agree with both of you. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

    I, too, want to enjoy my sense of humor (even if other people don’t) because I do believe that it is a gift from God. Maybe that’s part of why I feel the call to make sure that it is pure. I’m beginning to take heed to the times when it actually *feels* pure and when it *feels* ugly (aka: the Holy Spirit giving me feedback!). What I don’t like is the feeling deep in my heart that fuels the meanness that comes out of my mouth. I’ve tried to figure out the best way to address this feeling (sometimes it feels as impossible as the one itchy spot I can’t reach!); from what I gather, I can confess, renew my mind, and trust God to guide my heart like a waterway.

  4. Noelle Avatar

    I agree Admin., it is an issue of the heart. May God purify the depths of our heart!

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