Watching Your Mouth

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent. . 

I have a little problem watching something. No, church members, it isn’t your kids I teach on Wednesday nights. It definitely isn’t my money. I watch that closely as it sifts through my fingers and transforms itself into beaming new shoes.

No. It’s my mouth.

I’m very sarcastic by nature. I get it from my dad, and I’m sorry to say, but I love it. I love the twisted view sarcastic people have on the world around them. I can sift through #sarcasm tweets for hours. Some are quite clever.

That’s what I like about sarcasm. How the better you are at it is equal to your skills in quick thinking. The cleverness of you. Sarcasm is a different language that a lot of people don’t understand. It’s an art.

That’s the biggest problem. So many people don’t understand that art. So you have to learn a different one.

The art of holding your tongue.

I love the phrase holding your tongue. It sounds so painful and slippery. Thoroughly applicable if you ask me.

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

I read Proverbs 29 today as my August 29 devotional and that’s the verse I chose as the verse to work on today. My bible study texts each other these kinds of verses as an accountability commitment in our Bible reading.

The verse says “anger,” but I like to add a paraphrase.

A fool gives full vent to his . .  sarcasm/thoughts/opinion/feelings. Insert whatever you shouldn’t speak of.

In reality, there’s a lot you shouldn’t say for the sake of tact. At work, I don’t even entertain thoughts of my opinion or sarcasm. At work I turn into the polite, sweet girl and the overly polite sticky sweet girl to people who are obnoxious or rude.

But then come the times when people ask me questions. They ask me. And I’m off the clock. I only have God and my conscience to rebuke me.

A fool gives FULL vent. . 

I have a decision to make. Should I really STICK it to them? A walloping “well now that you asked me. . ”

Generally I proceed with caution. Nineteen years on this earth has taught me a thing or two. For example people don’t really want to know what I really think. There are different people.

There are my friends who want an honest sugarcoated answer. But not a novel on how to turn their life around.

There are those adults who want the quickest answer. It doesn’t necessarily have to be honest. If you can say, “I’m thinking of going to the juvenile penitentiary and exceeding with honors in four years,” swiftly, casually, and in one breath, that adult will tell you how that’s nice, wish you well with the most supportive handshake and a smile, and run to catch Janice or Paul to chat it up with them about yesterdays potluck.

There are good friends, who do want my opinion, but just like it says in the Bible, I must speak the truth in love. And like in any critique, end with a compliment.

Then there are my best friends, who already know I love them and think they’re amazing, talented, and smart, and I’ll give them my blunt honest opinion. The fact that they stay friends with me after the fact is exactly why they’re my best friends.

But it’s true. In everything, you need to speak the truth in love. It’s all about tone and emotion.

Sadly, I have yet to master tone.

I don’t know what it is. For example, at work, I was in the middle of a huge rush. People were patiently annoyed. I was hustling. But soon I noticed a woman standing at the bar. When people stand at the bar, that’s the I’m-about-to-lose-it-with-you sign.

I paused and patiently asked her what she was waiting for in regards to drinks and food. She gave me a huge long list that I know wasn’t all just her order. I was pleased to tell her it was all in the works and will be out shortly. In the end, I overcooked her chicken (still don’t understand how), so she lost her temper with me. I gave her a refund, and I told my manager about it the first chance I got in case she came back and wanted to get me in trouble.

My manager listened intently to my story, waited for me to finish, then asked, “did you really say ‘what are you waiting for?'”

I was taken back by the question. Mostly because my first thought was I lost you at “what are you waiting for?” You heard none of my story! But I know what she was getting at. That phrase can come out wrong. I emphasized that I didn’t say it in that tone. And I know the woman didn’t take offence to it in the moment, she just wanted me to acknowledge her existence so she could complain about waiting twenty minutes for a chicken wrap.

Tone.

For example, at church when I saw one of my friends, who usually works Sunday morning shifts, sitting in the choir ready to rehearse and I exclaimed, brightening, “look who’s finally at church!” Which, of course, came out, “look who’s finally at church. .”

When it comes to honesty, I start out with a little prick and devise from how that person reacted whether to go further or stop there. Though, I do know there are and will always be those people who are just itching to be offended. I consider them a lost cause for honesty. They don’t really want honesty.

In all of this, the old mantra stays true. “Think before you speak.”

Watch your mouth.

Shut up.

Stay silent.

God gave you two ears, one mouth.

However, it wasn’t until Proverbs 17:28 that things really clicked for me. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent.

Quiet people look smarter. So I try to stay quiet as much as I can. Especially in the middle of debates.

I chose those verses as my Bible study verses because the girls in my study know that I’ve been working on watching my mouth. And then it came to how I need to watch my tone as well, but I never realize that I’m offending people because my words are innocent.

I asked them that when it came to tone. .  just pray for me.

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