"A great man is always willing to be little."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Recently I sat through a conversation, all the while squirming in my chair with my tongue gripped firmly between my incisors, praying for the strength to remain silent, muzzled.
What I was hearing was nothing short of self-absorbed commentary; all roads leading to their interests - me, mine, I, myself, moi. It felt as though they were sucking the air from the room, and with each of their passing words there was less and less air to breath.
What probably sounded like
Something (Someone) restrained me ...
Those who consider themselves religious and
yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues
deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
~ James 1:26
I would have liked to apply that scripture to them, but in the moment it was me to which God spoke.
Here's the real problem behind this conundrum. Words, once spoken, cannot be as easily retracted as the sunroof on my Toyota. There's a godly economy of words prescribed for believers; and it's often associated with the when or how of their use. Timing & motive are critical. Once spoken they're out there, taking their place among the stars & galaxies. That can be a good thing. That can also be a not-so-good thing.
Self is insistent at times, isn't it? There are many, many words I wish I'd never spoken; words that ripped past my gripping teeth, shoving their way beyond wisdom's muzzle. They've lived on to become the primary ingredient of Humble Pie, or the eating of crow. Oh how I loath feathers!
Please don't interpret that I'm in favor of denial or retreat in the face of conflict. That would be tantamount to cowardly avoidance; and sometimes tough things must be spoken. God knows we need heavy doses of His wisdom to navigate the oft-times difficult dialogues.
I read a headline the other day which stated so-and-so retracted their statement. But what if you didn't hear or read that particular headline to know of the retraction? Your knowledge-stores would not be replenished & updated with the new information. Worse, sometimes the untrue or mean-spirited stuff sticks like slug-slime no matter how many retractions or apologies are offered.
Alas, once the proverbial cat's out of the bag, it either purrs or claws it's way ahead ... often, seemingly, forever.
"Not everything that counts can be counted,
and not everything that can be counted counts."
~ Albert Einstein
I confess: my tongue does get loose from its tether now-and-then. And when it does, I can almost always be certain that my own selfish bent is the cause.
Did I say I like chocolate with my feathers?