If you can't say something nice... don't say nothing at all.
Thumper, "Bambi" Copyright 1942 Disney
I love Thumper, don't you? He's the epitome of all of us at some point or another. His father could be a four pawed, long eared version of Solomon, however. For those who don't remember, Thumper delivered this line after his mother admonished him for saying something rude about Bambi. This was the advice his father gave him. He repeated it dutifully (even if he did forget it, temporarily).
Proverbs is also filled with warnings about using the tongue. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 15: 4 - The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. (If you want to read different versions, BibleGateway is a terrific website).
I'm not sure if it's my sinful nature or just my nature as a woman but I always have to have the last word. Always. And more often than not, in order to do it, I have to deliver a cutting remark. It is so hard for me to lose an argument or not 'bite back' when bitten. But lose, I must.
Could you imagine how different the Message would have been if Jesus had to have had the last word?
I read a commentary not too long ago that said Jesus went through all He did - betrayal, humiliation, pain - so that nothing we ever go through here on Earth could compare. As bad as the situations in our life can be, they do not compare to the trials of The Prince of Peace (and isn't a good thing, too?)
And speaking of peace, if Jesus could hold his tongue - even forgive his transgressors - when he was beaten and hung on a cross to die, shouldn't I be able to lose an argument; let a comment go unchallenged?
My challenge to you today is to hold your tongue when you find yourself wanting to lash out to win an argument. I challenge you, instead, to lose yourself and use your tongue to build someone up.
Until next time...