Discipline of the Tongue

Every religious system of philosophy or code includes advice on curbing the tongue – what is described in the Christian Bible as “an unruly evil, full of deadly poison”. Here is some guidance for governing this obstreperous troublemaker:

• Avoid lying: only speak words which are truthful and sincere

• Avoid exaggeration: speak with simplicity and truth

• Avoid deception: do not deceive by word, look or gesture

• Avoid evil speaking: practice good will

• Do not listen to, act upon, or repeat an evil story; He who speaks evil of another, cannot find the way of peace

• Avoid idle conversation: learn how to be silent. Do not let the tongue rule: do not talk about the private affairs of others

• Avoid accusation, recrimination, condemnation and raillery: practise forgiveness. Do not condemn those who are not walking on the righteous path, but protect them with compassion

• Avoid frivolous jesting and irreverent speech. Be modest in your works. Gravity and reverence are marks of purity and wisdom

• Avoid fault-finding: practise self-control. Avoid unprofitable arguments. Do not enter into wordy strife even with one who strongly opposes you: let the other have the last word.

• Do not dispute about the truth, but remember that living the truth cleanses our heart. Acquire goodness and practise virtue

• Some might even begin by adopting a vow of silence for one day a week, or for one hour every day.

Bro Mondest Gwademba (Tirika, Kenya)

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