James 3 makes it clear to us that our tongues are dangerous (as do the Proverbs), a world of restless evil. We live in a society that seem to promote this restless evil in what I might call the strife of the tongue. Talk radio subtly and not subtly attacks the character of other people, namely politicians. Even Christians feed on that and then do the same, and not just against politicians but against others as well. It is said almost in the name of the Lord. That's the intent most of the time. But it doesn't justify it.
I avoid it by refusing to participate in it. It becomes difficult when the one doing it seems given over to that kind of talk to some degree. I may not be in a good position or place to confront them on that, but I can certainly pray. And live out something different before them.
Where I can lose out on this is both in my thought life and at home when I'm sharing it with my wife, Deb. I can descend to the same level and fight fire with fire, rather than live as the light in the Lord which in Jesus we are. This is when I need to press the mute button on my mouth. And when or if I do speak, keep it to a minimum. And make sure I'm praying first with whatever thoughts which may follow. Praying always through that.
It's hardest when the tongues are aimed at us- though we know when at us it is aimed at others as well. We must avoid descending to the same level either in our words or in our heart. And we must avoid harboring evil in our hearts against the perceived and real evil of others. That evil we have stored will come out, even if it comes out more in what we don't do, rather than do.
I think the best thing we do to overcome the strife or evil of tongues is to overcome that evil with good. This may include gently correcting someone as we seek to live by the Spirit.
What do you do to overcome the strife of tongues? Or what might you like to add here?
tomorrow: chapter 3"Tossed Treasure - messiness", from L.L. Barkat's book, Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places.