When I first read the Anne of Avonlea books, I galloped through them. Would the ever-faithful Gilbert finally break through Anne's reserve? However, as I re-read them, I sense that the author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, must have experienced a sharp tongue or two, as evidenced by what her heroine, Anne, says:
- He only lived a few years after he married her. The doctor said he died of dyspepsia, but I shall always maintain that he died of Atossa's tongue, that's what. Poor soul, she always knew everything about her neighbours, but she was never very well acquainted with herself.
She also wrote:
- For a second, Anne burned with resentment. Then she laughed, reminding herself that Mrs. Boulter's crude vulgarity of thought and speech could not harm her.
We have experienced these things, too. However, we still occasionally slander others and ridicule their choices, and yet complain if they do it to us. We are seldom wise enough to react like heroine Anne and shake it off.
Ephesians 5:3b – Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don't talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn't fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect. (MSG)
Romans 14:10-12 – So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I'd say it leaves you looking pretty silly — or worse. Eventually, we're all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren't going to improve your position there one bit. Read it for yourself in Scripture: "As I live and breathe," God says, "every knee will bow before me; every tongue will tell the honest truth that I and only I am God." So tend to your knitting. You've got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God. (MSG)
Jeremiah 9:8-9 – Their tongues are poison arrows! Deadly lies stream from their mouths. Neighbour greets neighbour with a smile, "Good morning! How're things?" while scheming to do away with him. Do you think I'm going to stand around and do nothing? … Don't you think I'll take serious measures against a people like this? (MSG)
Prayer: Lord, may it be that "my lips will not speak wickedness, and my tongue will utter no deceit" (Job 27:4 NIV). Amen.