Monday, May 22, 2017

an eye on the tongue

St Ambrose talks to us about talking today in A Year with the Church Fathers.

And he gives us good advice. I especially like the part about having a good place to start and an end within sight. :) Even when we're saying good things, it's easy to weary our listeners with many words.

But he reminds us that we should be careful of our content, as well. It's important that we lift each other up with our words, not tear each other down - or worse, tear down others who aren't present.

There is a wise saying that says "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." And this is a good rule of thumb. If we keep our conversation on ideas and things we're happy or excited about, then we are pushing our conversation in the right direction.

If we're talking about things that have happened or will happen, we're probably still OK, but we need to be careful. And if we're talking about other people, we need to be careful. It's so easy for our words to turn into gossip and slander. Even if we're saying something nice about someone, it's easy to provoke envy in our listeners. So keeping our talk focused on ideas and things that we share an interest in, rather than on people who aren't present, is a safe practice.

God, please help us control our tongues, since they can so easily hurt ourselves and other people.