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Monday, April 11, 2011

Bridle the Tongue

The Deseret News has published the words of President David O. McKay.  This is what he said on Sunday 11 April 1954: "The tongue spreads wickedness, hatred, envy, bitterness, gossip, lying and slander.  The damage and destruction caused by the H-bomb is microscopic when compared to the damage done by the tongue."  I believe this is verily true.  The saying goes, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."  True a courageous man might stand and take it, then give no ill word back in return, but the truth is, WORDS DO HURT!

How many boys and girls at school - whether in Elementary, Middle, or High School - how many end their lives because of the knives thrown from the mouths of others!  We read, "One morning, two months into his junior year of high school, Tyler Long changed out of his pajamas and into his favorite T-shirt and jeans. He strapped a belt around his neck and hanged himself from the top shelf in his bedroom closet. (ABC News)"  Confusion beyond all reason rises up when one considers that Tyler Long killed himself because he was just being himself - subconsciously reacting to a condition he was born with!  He couldn't control it; it was actually a blessing in disguise for him because it kept him more rule-minded than most.  The trouble was, he would tell other people the rules when they were broken, and they got mad, hurling their vicious words as knives at Tyler.

Tyler Long is an unfortunate case.  But it is fortunate that Tyler now is learning the teachings of One who never gave offense; One who never said an ill word to or about others; One who understands completely what all mortals go through; One who never broke a rule in His short, holy life; One who blesses all with His goodness if they will receive it!!  How hurtful was it to the Son of Man to hear those words from the Romans on the night of His betrayal and trial, when the soldiers "platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. (John 19:2-3)"?  How pained was the Redeemer of the world "when the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. (John 19:6)"?  Those words must have hurt Him in more ways mortals have power to comprehend.  We know He was sorrowful, not only because of how their words must have stung Him emotionally, but how their words must have stung at Him spiritually, knowing that the actions of the Romans and the Jews that April night would be their own judges on the matter.  But what do we read the Savior saying about them to His Father?  "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)"  Not only did Jesus not offend, but he offered mercy and forgiveness to all.

Well doth James the Apostle say, "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. . . . Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.  Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?  Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. (James 3:5-6, 10-12)"  Brother James' words have become timeless.  Even as a fountain cannot bring for both clean and filthy water, so, indeed, should it be with our tongues.  We should learn to lead our tongues as the horse is led - with a bridle. 

May we ever bridle our tongues and think and say what the Savior would say in all we do!  I know that if the mind is under control, then the tongue will be as well.  Because of our words men will either be drawn towards or away from us.  In the Name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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