Most people who work with kids have learned the value of “Time Out.” It’s a discipline tool that requires a child to sit out of group or play activities for some period of time after violating a rule or demonstrating bad attitudes or bad behavior. The goal is to help them reflect on what they’ve done and to be better in the future.
Sometimes us adults need “time outs” too. It’s especially true when it comes to our words. We need to “time out our tongue.”
Think about all the pain and trouble caused by inconsiderate words? How many homes are plagued by problems rooted in unruly tongues? How many work places are unproductive and unpleasant because of verbal snipers, behind-the-back assaulters and catty commenters?
Here’s some good advice (actually some “God advice”):
Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble. — Proverbs 21:23 (NLT)
Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief. — Proverbs 21:23 (Message)
The next time you feel the:
- Need to retort.
- Urge to gossip.
- Desire to dismiss or diminish someone’s success.
- Temptation to twist the truth.
- Delight in dominating conversations.
- Press to express your opinionated opinions.
- Prodding to verbally pass on your judgments.
- Anticipated pleasure of “speaking your mind.”
Send your tongue to “time out!”