Words are powerful. That’s a fact I’ve come to know in my years of writing, counseling, talking, reading, and dealing with other people. The written word can be carefully thought about before we put it out for the world to see. But how about the spoken word? How many times have we said some things that we wish we could’ve taken back?
“There is wisdom in silence.” I love to say that to talkative people. It is a very good advice – even to people who are good communicators. There will always be a flaw in our way of speaking not because knowledge is flawed in itself but because our attitude and pride defiles the output of our knowledge as we convert it outwardly – it sometimes turn into cunning and slyness instead of wisdom.
There are some things better left unsaid
Some things better left unknown
The Knowledge Option
Maybe that’s why God didn’t want us to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil because He knows that we can’t know it all. Some things will harm us or at least cause more harm than good. God in His awesome Glory spoke through the prophets something that boggled my mind. He said “…it didn’t even enter my thoughts…” he said that about human sacrifice – the sacrificing of babies to wooden idols they call “gods”
In life, this can be also true. There are some things that when you start to know, it will bother you and slowly eat you up, especially when you let yourself dwell in it. When you start to think about it. Those things are dangerous to know. They work like poison in the mind. And even worse than poison, they make you change your point of view to a worse direction. There are things better left unknown.
Why do we always want to try to know everything. Is it because we want to glorify God? Because of curiosity? Because of pride – wanting to know more than others so you can brag about it? Or just because…? Knowing everything is not important. It is how you apply and use what you know – in wisdom for God’s glory.
It is a Discipline
Some things are better left unsaid – that is taken for granted by our generation today. Especially the “Emotional” people. They tend to voice out what they want to, either in action or in words. We tend to say the things we want to say because it “feels” good. But emotions are fleeting, and you will be accountable of every word you say.
Controlling your tongue isn’t an easy thing to do. It might even be the hardest discipline you can apply to your life – but it is a discipline that people will respect. It is something that will help you through in life. Know when to speak, know when to let other people know and know when to be silent and hold your tongue.
Even people in church have a problem with this. Even I have a problem with this. We all fall and fail. We have to manage our disciplines in life. This is one of the disciplines that I know will help me through. I know it’s true for me. And it will most probably be true for you too.
Isn’t it so easy nowadays to say things to another person, especially with the use of technology? Sometimes we don’t even think twice anymore when we send a text message from our cellphones or a personal message from our ym. It has become so easy to criticize a person or to say somethings you don’t really mean. Sometimes we carelessy say things to blow off some steam because it makes us FEEL better. And technology has aided that part of our human nature.
I realized that controlling your tongue starts with controlling your mind. Nowadays we don’t use our tongue much anymore. We use our fingers to type and text. Now it’s “Tame the fingers” rather than “Tame the tongue”
Maybe you’re wondering why I made this blog. It was September 22, 2008 and I was just really upset because of someone who I’ve done so much for but apparently that person doesn’t appreciate or maybe that person just lacks a good sense of gratitude. I am really really upset beyond words by how that person have acted toward me today. And I thought about blowing off some steam here in my blog or in my YM status and I thought about it hard in the bus because I rode home alone so I had a lot of time to think.
It’s so easy to “Flame” that person or anyone for that matter with our technology now. It’s so easy to disregard any good thoughts about that person and just criticize and demoralize that person in front of all of your contacts in that social site you’re part of (Like multiply and facebook for example) and get away with it.
Then I remembered pastor Dennis Sy, my mentor and my friend in Christ and pastor L.A. whom I look up to as well. I read their blogs and I realized that everything that they put there are encouragements and things to get people pumped up in their faith. And then I stopped and thought “Should I still blog about what I am feeling?” Feelings can be treacherous and that feeling of mine in the bus was one of those misleading feelings.
Even if it would help me blow off steam and satisfy my being upset and disappointed, it would definitely not help my relationship with the person I’m “Flaming” (That’s my term for bashing or grinding with hurtful words or “Nagpaparinig” – all of those) and it would not solve anything. All the good times that I’ve had with that person were disregarded when I was on the bus but now when I think about it, it’s not worth “Flaming” that person over what that person has done for a week or two.
I was reviewing the book “How to win friends and influence people.” by Dale Carnegie (Which is probably the ultimate book in dealing with people. It is superb and I am not exaggerating one bit) And it reminded me of Lincoln’s story when he had general Lee within his hand’s grasp.
Taken from the Book: “How to win friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie
Yet if any man ever had the occasion to criticize, surely it was Lincoln. Let’s take just one illustration:
The battle of Gettysburg was fought during the first three days of July 1863. During the night of July 4, Lee began to retreat southward while storm clouds deluged the country with rain. When lee reached the Potomac with his defeated army, he found the swollen, impassable river in front of him and a victorious Union Army behind him and. Lee was in a trap. He couldn’t escape. Lincoln saw that. Here was a golden, heaven-sent opportunity – the opportunity to capture Lee’s army and end the war immediately. So, with the surge of high hope, Lincoln ordered Meade not to call a council of war but to attack Lee immediately.
Lincoln telegraphed his orders and then sent a special messenger to Meade demanding immediate action.
And what did general Meade do? He did the very opposite of what he was told to do. He called a council of war in direct violation of Lincoln’s order. He hesitated. He procrastinated. He telegraphed all manner of excuses. He refused point-blank to attack Lee. Finally, the waters receded and Lee escaped over the Potomac with his forces.
Lincoln was furious “What does this mean?” Lincoln cried to his son Robert “Great God what does this mean? We had them within our grasp, and had only to stretch forth our hands and they were ours; yet nothing that I could say or do could make the army move. Under the circumstances, almost any general could have defeated Lee. If I had gone up there, I could have whipped him myself.”
In bitter disappointment, Lincoln sat down and wrote Meade this letter. And remember, at this period of his life, Lincoln was extremely conservative and restrained in his phraseology. So this letter coming from Lincoln in 1863 was tantamount to the severest rebuke.
My dearest general,
I do not believe you appreciate the magnitude of the misfortune involved in Lee’s escape. He was within our easy grasp, and to have closed upon him would, in connection with our other late successes, have ended the war. As it is, the war will be prolonged indefinitely. If you could not attack Lee last monday, how can you possibly do so south of the river, when you can take with you very few- no more than two-thirds of the force you then had in hand? It would be unreasonable to expect and I do not expect that you can now effect much. Your golden opportunity is gone, and I am distressed immeasurably because of it.
What do you suppose Meade did when he read the letter?
Meade never saw that letter, Lincoln never mailed it. It was found among his papers after his death.
My guess is- and this is only a guess- that after writing that letter, Lincoln looked out of the window and said to himself, “Just a minute. Maybe I ought not to be so hasty. It is easy enough for me to sit here in the quiet of the White house and order Meade to attack; but if I had been up at Gettysburg, and if I had seen much blood as Meade has seen during the last week, and if my ears had been pierced with the screams and shrieks of the wounded and dying, maybe I wouldn’t be so anxious to attack either.
“If I had Meade’s timid temperament, perhaps I would have done just what he have done. Anyhow it is water under the bridge now. If I send this letter, it will relieve my feelings but it will make Meade try to justify himself. It will make him condemn me, It will arouse hard feelings, impair all his further usefulness as a commander, and perhaps force him to resign from the army.”
So, as I have already said, Lincoln put the letter aside, for he had learned by bitter experience that sharp criticisms and rebukes almost invariably end in futility.
– from the book “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie
This helped me remember a very important lesson and that is to repress anything you want to say about another person that is not good. I thought about my being upset and decided that I’d rather not post it and “Flame” that certain person. I thought “Maybe if I was in that person’s shoes, I’d do just the same.” I had already given that person a lot of benefits of the doubt occasions and this will not be the last. Truth be told, I am still immeasurably upset about what happened earlier with that person, I cannot imagine that that person is capable of doing what that person has done. But it is water under the bridge now, and again, I will give that person the benefit of the doubt.
To everyone who will read this and has read this, please do pray for me. I appreciate each and every prayer for me. Pray for patience, kindness, joy and peace. Thanks and I hope you guys learned a lesson as well from this post. And to all my disciples: I’m always praying for you guys and I’m so happy that you’re practicing the taming of your tongue (and fingers for that matter)
Remember: “God Himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days.” – Dr. Johnson.
So why should you and I?