Sharing by: Pam Crawford
“No man can tame the tongue”
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue by Deborah Smith Pegues is a book that I keep in the forefront of my resource library. Why? Because I have to return to this resource often. I have found this book to be helpful on many different levels. It has proven to be an invaluable guide as I work to have wisdom in my expression of speech. Inside the book, the author deals with many different types of tongues. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I was able to recognize several of mine within the thirty examples she provides. Within the Prologue of this book Deborah writes: “Teachers often teach that which they need to learn themselves.” I can assure you I need this lesson. I have learned that the tongue is a dangerous body part and it truly does require taming, especially if we’re working to avoid its destructive nature.
“To tame” means to bring from a state of unruliness to a state of submission. A person would have to live in total isolation to begin to accomplish such a feat with his tongue. Even then, his self-talk would probably be negative in some way and therefore rob him of total victory.” (Pegues) Recently my self-talk, along with the opinions of others, has brought the need to review this resource again. In a world that displays so many forms of opinion, we might concur that these opinions can often lead to arguments. I have learned from personal experience that an argument can often be the enemy’s tool to separate the best of friends. So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to join you as a student to review Day 6 - “The Argumentative Tongue.”
Over the next few weeks we will look at other tongues types, in no particular order. I’ll work to share some of what I’m gleaning. Should you recognize a similarity in your own tongue from the examples illustrated in this book, be encouraged. If you have “eyes to see and ears to hear” (Ezekiel 12:2) God will help you make the necessary adjustments to avoid the pitfalls. I highly recommend this resource. Be blessed.
Day 6 - The Argumentative Tongue.
By Deborah Smith Pegues
“Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.”
“Unlike divisive people, whose actions destroy unity between parties, argumentative people enjoy directly resisting anyone whose viewpoint is different from theirs. In fact, they seem to stay on high alert for anything they can discuss that will get someone one else on the defensive. Never without fodder for a verbal fight, they can always depend upon any discussion of religion or politics to produce unending quarrels.
Being argumentative is a futile use of the tongue and certainly not the way to win friends or influence people. It was legendary American-cowboy-turned entertainer Will Rogers who cautioned, “People’s minds are changed through observation and not through argument.” In other words, contentiousness negates one’s ability to bring about change.
Let’s look at why people become quarrelers. Many quarrelers grew up in homes where arguing was as much a pattern as eating. Thus, they think it is normal to contend. I grew up in a very contentious environment. I don’t remember any discussions ever ending in an amicable resolution of the initial issue. Rather, it seemed that when the quarrelers could not find more logs to put on the fire at hand, they simply kindled another fire and continued the process until they tired of talking.
I swore I would never engage in such ineffective communication. On the other hand, I have a brother who always tries to draw people into discussions that often result in an argument. When he runs out of points to put forth or has no logical response to his opponents’ rebuttals, he resorts to personal attacks on their character and name-calling. He has chosen to emulate the behavior he witnessed as a child.
Another reason some people resort to quarreling is to bolster their own self-worth. They can only feel good about themselves by attacking the validity of other people’s opinions, philosophies, or beliefs and then maneuvering them into defending their position. The quarreler’s goal is not to add value to someone’s life by showing him the error of his way. In fact, Mrs. Quarreler would be greatly disappointed if her target responded, “Oh, thank you for shedding light on the matter. I will change my thinking immediately.” Why, such a concession would end the argument!
I have decided it is best to heed Solomon’s advice “Beginning a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out” (Proverbs 17:14 NLT). When engaged by a quarreler, my favorite response is to say early on, with as much finality as I can muster, “Okay. That’s your opinion.” This will keep me out of the web of contention that quarrelers are expert at weaving. It takes two to tangle. Jesus cautioned us to “agree with your adversary quickly” (Matthew 5:25 NKJV).
Most people, except fellow quarrelers, will minimize or avoid discussion with a person who is argumentative. They find it too stressful to walk on eggshells trying to limit their conversations to safe non-debatable topics.
On of the challenges for God’s children is to learn to disagree without being disagreeable. We glorify God when we remain loving even when we disagree with the views and values of unbelievers. We must be careful how we disagree lest we compromise our testimony. Surely we have the grace to register our protests without being mean-spirited. Benjamin Franklin was known to remark diplomatically, “On this point, I agree. But on the other, if you don’t mind, may I take exception.
If you have a tendency to be contentious or argumentative, remember that it costs you absolutely nothing to respect someone’s opinion – especially on matters that have no eternal consequences.”
I found this article to be both informative and challenging. I believe the time has come to understand this word “contentious” as I allow God to take me through the sanctification process. It’s not always comfortable, but in the end there is a great reward promised.
“I will resist becoming contentious by respecting everyone’s right to have his own values and views.” – 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue, day 6.
: Colossians 4:6, Psalm 49:3, Philippians 2:14 Reading