The Tongue of the Wise One Is Healing
IT IS an art to use the tongue for the benefit of others. Its wise use can soften the sting of sorrow and disappointment, lighten the load of anxiety and worry. A proverb states: “There exists the one speaking thoughtlessly as with the stabs of a sword, but the tongue of the wise ones is a healing.” (Prov. 12:18) Since the tongue can be used for good or bad, do you, before you speak, consider what the outcome of your words may be and how they may affect others?
The uplifting use of the tongue can be applied to so many of our activities in life. Take the young person who is away from home for the first time. He may be plagued with homesickness. Older associates who observe this should not chide or tease, but can, with a few kind words, help him to see the reason for being where he is and why he should stay there. This wise use of the tongue can effectively heal the urge to go home without good reason, possibly losing many valuable opportunities.
You may have had the experience of starting on a new job where you had to learn a difficult procedure or operate an intricate machine. A word of encouragement from your supervisor could build up your confidence and determination to do your best. How much more like working and improving you would feel with healing words that lift up the spirit!
Sometimes close friendships are broken up merely because of thoughtless words from the uncontrolled tongue. Therefore the tongue must be carefully guarded. This is easy to say, but not so easy to do. Why? Because the tongue is about the most rebellious, uncooperative organ in the body. One Bible writer said: “If anyone does not stumble in word, this one is a perfect man.” Men have tamed birds and beasts, “but the tongue, not one of mankind can get it tamed. An unruly injurious thing, it is full of death-dealing poison.” (Jas. 3:2, 8) That does not mean improvement cannot be made in handling the tongue, for such assuredly can be done. While perfect control may be beyond reach, still, a greater work of healing with the tongue is possible for most people than they at present are accomplishing.
Words from the healing tongue are particularly necessary in the home when one of the family suffers injury or is sick. In the case of deep sorrow over the loss of a loved one, words cannot take the place of the loss, but they do give much comfort when spoken out of love and based on truth. Then, too, there are many persons who experience countless fears and worries. They worry about their health, feel insecure, bemoan their failures, or imagine that others dislike or disapprove of them. They also lack spiritual vision concerning life’s value and purpose. Here is where the person of insight and knowledge can be of real help. He can tell of these true values and overcome such anxieties.
In this period of earthwide stress there are many who become gripped with depression and a loss of hope. This is often true of those old in years. Many of their own age that they have grown up with have already died and they have the feeling of being alone. How helpful the tongue of the wise can be here! “Anxious care in the heart of a man is what will cause it to bow down, but the good word is what makes it rejoice.” (Prov. 12:25) Are you able to speak the “good word” when it is most needed by others near you? Could you logically give the reasons why the human family is in its present pitiful condition and why the life-span is so short? Do you know the hope the Scriptures give for a change soon to come? If you have love for your fellowman and knowledge of the hope that God gives through his Word, you will be able to heal by speaking the “good word.”
There is another type of healing the tongue can do, one that may be painful at the moment, as with medicine put on a wound. This is in regard to reproof. Sometimes what is needed is the correcting or disciplining of another. God’s Word says: “Better is a revealed reproof than a concealed love.” (Prov. 27:5) While the correction may sting, may be sharp, it will be beneficial, since it can prevent one from going astray.
One may not be aware of doing anything that may need correction. He may be working and not be aware that his work is deficient and needs correcting. He does not feel the need for counsel, since there is no wrong conduct involved. Encouragement may have proved ineffective, since he feels no change is necessary. It is like the child who is encouraged to do right but continues to do wrong, not realizing that his course is deficient. Words of discipline and correction must be applied for the benefit of the child, even if it leads to a spanking. With the adult, deficiency may require words of healing in the form of tactful but firm reproof, which may hurt at the moment, but will help the recipient correct his wayward course.
It takes a true friend who has genuine concern for you to point out the folly of a certain course that could lead to your harm. You should accept such reproof without rebelling, since it is a kindness that will heal. You can be of benefit in the same way by not holding back from using your tongue wisely to aid others where correction is needed. In using the tongue to reprove when it is required, one shows kindness to himself as well as others. His spirit benefits by doing the right thing.
Your tongue is a window to your heart and mind. It reveals your moral and spiritual health, for what is in your heart your tongue will make known sooner or later. As the Bible states: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure sends out good things, whereas the wicked man out of his wicked treasure sends out wicked things.” (Matt. 12:34, 35) By taking in true treasures from God’s Word, you can cultivate the wise use of your tongue for healing, for doing good. This will result in happiness to others you deal with and happiness for yourself as well.