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listen, control tongue

photo: CCO public domain

I can still hear my teachers and parents telling me as a child, “Martha, would you please stop talking and just listen!”

It was something that never came naturally to me. Talking was my thing. I did it all the time! Whatever I thought, I said. Maturity was slow coming to me. One sign of maturity for me, was that I finally was able to think before speaking. I tended to speak impulsively. Only in the last year or two have I learned that talking a lot is often a sign of ADD…especially among girls! Who knew?

As I grew up, the day came when my now husband, a pastor, asked me to marry him. Was I going to be able to control my mouth? Only GOD knew.                    stop

Learning to listen takes the focus off of me and my thoughts and onto the other person.

Over the years, GOD taught me to control my tongue. Often, I was surprised when kind words came out of my mouth at times when I didn’t expect them to at all! Of course, there were many times when I blew it. I shared my observations with less tact than was needed. I put my foot in my mouth too many times. I had to apologize because I didn’t listen to that voice of the Spirit in my head that warns me to be quiet.

Fortunately, when I needed to write something to someone that was apologetic in nature, I learned to have Ron read my replies. I learned that I had a tendency to want to get my little hook in here and there. I couldn’t just let things go simply. I tended to want the final word…and to show why I was the one who was right, not them. His comment to me when I didn’t want to take certain lines out of what I had written was, “Do you want to still have a relationship with this person? Then you need to take that out.” Okay, that clarified it for me!

Listening to the stories of other people reveals much about what motivates them.

Over time, I learned to listen to the stories of people. I discovered their stories revealed more than what I thought was there. I learned to listen more and judge less about motives. Not only did it help my relationships, I was happier as well!

The burden of judging others was off my shoulders. The burden of defending myself was no longer mine to carry. I can listen to others who are different and enjoy that they are different without needing them to be like me. It didn’t happen overnight…and it isn’t done yet!

…but no human being can tame the tongue.
It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 
With it we bless our Lord and Father,
and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.
My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

James 3:8-10