“They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their bitter words like arrows.”
We have been learning about lines in Art.
You know – straight, curvy, horizontal, vertical – lines are the building blocks of drawing.
I found a cool activity online where you introduce vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines using a toy snake. I was really going for it, whipping the kids into a frenzy of learning. I showed the kids the different lines using the snake’s body. I pretended that the snake enjoyed all the attention. I moved him around, commenting it looked like he was wanting to lick the kids with his tongue like a puppy would. They were eating it up.
(They know what a dog licking a kid means. I was trying to connect them to that warm feeling. So sue me.)
It was going great. The kids were totally focused, totally engaged. They were understanding the concept of the different kinds of lines.
It was a powerful teaching moment.
Time to wrap it up and bring it home.
Enter a wise little.
“Mrs. Lowes, before you pretend your snake wants to lick me, just don’t. I have no idea where that tongue has been.”
I almost choked.
Seriously. You can’t make this stuff up.
I still giggle thinking about it – but I also am making some deeper connections as I reflect on that interaction.
See, there are days I don’t know where my tongue has been.
Hard words fly out when emotions run high, and hard words can do damage.
This verse is all about the language of warfare – ‘sharpen their swords’, ‘aim’, ‘arrows’. These are words of weaponry, of hand to hand combat. ‘Them’s fightin’ words’, as the characters form old western movies would say.
Weapons are designed to harm, to wound, to kill, to destroy.
Our words shouldn’t cut like that, but they do.
Oh, do they ever.
Our tongues need to be tamed. And they need to spend time doing what they were created to do – praise, honour, build up, encourage, and worship.
If we reinforce our natural tendencies towards negativity, gossip, slander, and malice, we just once we are the risk that our tongues will be weaponized – armed and dangerous.
Where has your tongue been?
Tame that tongue with me?
Father, how much potential You put in our words – and how easy it is for our tongues to destroy rather than build up! Teach us to practice using our words wisely each day. Amen.