-Rev. Joanne Walker Flowers, PhD-
A sensitive answer turns back wrath, but an offensive word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1 CEB
I lived in a small town, Sierra Vista, Arizona while working at Cochise College many years ago. It took a while for me to adjust to the dry, brown desert terrain but I grew to love it. There was such openness to the land, it was vast and untamed and living there gave me the opportunity to do something I’d always wanted to do, ride horses. Of course, first I had to learn how.
As a beginner, the quarter horses I rode were larger than I expected and a bit daunting. How could I possibly control this huge animal? But as every experienced rider knows, the secret to controlling the horse rests in the control of its mouth, that is, its bit. To illustrate the power of the tongue, James wrote about the bit controlling the horse and a small rudder turning a large ship. (James 3:3-4)
In Proverbs we read, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21) If the tongue is so powerful, why are we so careless with it?
Lord, I ask you to grow in me the fruit of kindness that I may speak words of love and healing rather than hurt and scorn. Control my tongue as I submit to your will in my life. Lead me, guide me, direct me, and please use me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Joanne Walker Flowers is ordained clergy in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with a ministry of health and healing.