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Tree of Life: Your Tongue Can Help or Hurt You in Business
Conflict Negotiation: Learning how to control your tongue can empower you to lead your company in the way you want instead of being led by the emotion of the moment.

By Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 3/3/2014


James 3:5-6

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

               Forest fires are amazing things. A little spark can start a huge blaze that overwhelms and destroys thousands if not millions of acres of land. The West is full of accounts of forest fires engulfing hillsides as the flames reach the tops of trees and even jump large canyons.

                But it all has to start somewhere. And in many cases, huge blazes start with a small spark. Scripture compares our reckless words to these little sparks. One harsh word, criticism or morsel of gossip may cause significant damage to us or others.

                I don’t know if you have ever felt like a Scripture passage was written just for you. Well, that is how I feel about the first part of James 3 covering the dangers of a reckless tongue. My mouth has gotten me in more trouble through the years than anything else. And I am not alone when it comes to that problem.

                James 3:2 says that any person who is perfect in speech is perfect in all he does. Scripture also clearly teaches that the tongue is guided by the heart because out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. If our words are bad, our heart has a problem too.

                The author of James depicted the tongue as a small part of the body that makes great boasts. And just like a large forest fire is started by a spark, so can a tongue do great damage. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can damage our relationships and our reputation. Harsh words, gossip, lies or malice can drive a wedge between people. An evil tongue just doesn’t damage one area of our lives; it can corrupt our whole lives. Many sins begin with a word that entices an action or response.

                The remedy is to bring our tongue under control and to submit our heart to the refining work of the Holy Spirit. As God changes our heart, our speech will change too. Christians should be slow to speak and quick to pray. Before you lash out in anger, stop to consider your words. Will this comment only make the situation worse? Maybe the other person is having a real bad day, and didn’t really mean what he or she just said. By returning a harsh word with a kind word, you may turn that person from a negative in your organization to a positive.

                One of the best strategies that I have found is to walk away, take a few minutes to pray and consider an appropriate response. This gives you the time to respond as you really want to and not in anger during the heat of the moment. Thus, if you need to issue a strong response, you are doing it after careful thought and not just because the other person made you angry. Thus, you are controlling the situation instead of letting it control you.

                When these tough challenges come in business, sometimes the worse thing we can do in a moment is open our mouths.

                Editor’s Note: Tree of Life is a new column that will run regularly in the Pallet Enterprise. It includes a Scripture verse and a thought for the day that can help Christian business people run their lives and companies according to Biblical principles. Submissions are welcome. Please submit your idea to chaille@ireporting.com

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