- December 2019
(Un)sharpening the Tongue
Did you ever feel so right, and so wrong, at the same time?
That’s kind of like, story of my life.
At least the familial life.
Most of the time, we can speak kindly to the cashier when receiving change, we can speak kindly to the random stranger asking for directions, on better days we can even speak kindly to the less-than-friendly fellow office worker.
But family, it’s a whole different world. Perhaps they are most familiar with us, and us with them.
Many times I would have all the right words, but when the words get said, it gets all wrong.
And it happened for me again, while typing this exact article.
Sigh…So much for knowing what to do, and still losing it in practice.
Noted on the note to self, let’s move on to the message.
There are examples in the Bible, for the likes of you and me to learn from. Like, Abigail.
Before Abigail became the wife of King David, she was the wife of Nabal, a rich man whose name literally means fool. Abigail probably had a lot of sighs, heard and unheard, because Nabel was “crude and mean in all his dealings.” (1 Sam 25:3, NLT)
David, whose men have protected Nabal’s sheep and servants, asked for provisions from Nabal. It was sheep-shearing time, akin to a time of harvest, hence generosity could be customarily expected, if not willingly given. But Nabal responded with an insult (1 Sam 25:10-11), and David, with his injured pride, was all ready to return the insult. He took 400 armed men with him, and made their way to Nabal’s house. Bloodshed was imminent.
Here was when Abigail, caught between two men’s ego, made an appeal.
1 Sam 25:23-31, NLT:
When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed low before him. She fell at his feet and said, “I accept all blame in this matter, my lord. Please listen to what I have to say. I know Nabal is a wicked and ill-tempered man; please don’t pay any attention to him. He is a fool, just as his name suggests. But I never even saw the young men you sent.
“Now, my lord, as surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, since the Lord has kept you from murdering and taking vengeance into your own hands, let all your enemies and those who try to harm you be as cursed as Nabal is. And here is a present that I, your servant, have brought to you and your young men. Please forgive me if I have offended you in any way. The Lord will surely reward you with a lasting dynasty, for you are fighting the Lord’s battles. And you have not done wrong throughout your entire life.
Even when you are chased by those who seek to kill you, your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch! But the lives of your enemies will disappear like stones shot from a sling! When the Lord has done all he promised and has made you leader of Israel, don’t let this be a blemish on your record. Then your conscience won’t have to bear the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance. And when the Lord has done these great things for you, please remember me, your servant!”
While Abigail’s appeal caught my attention, David Guzik’s commentary really nailed it for me. He wrote:
“Abigail’s appeal to David was so glorious because it lifted him up instead of beating him down. David was clearly in the wrong, and Abigail wanted to guide him into the right. But she didn’t do it by being negative, by emphasizing to David how wrong and angry and stupid he was – though in fact he was. Instead, Abigail emphasized David’s glorious calling and destiny, and the general integrity of his life, and simply asked him to consider if what his present course of action was consistent with that destiny and integrity.
Abigail is a marvelous model of “sweetly speaking submission.”
Many Christian wives have the idea of “silent submission.” They say, “I know my husband is wrong, but I won’t tell him. Submission means I should shut up.” That is wrong, and they should look to Abigail as an example. Other Christian wives have the idea of “sharply speaking submission.” They say, “I know my husband is wrong, and God has appointed me to tell him. And boy, will I!” That is wrong, and they should look to Abigail as an example. Abigail gives the right example – submission that speaks, but speaks sweetly instead of sharply.”
(David Guzik’s commentary on 1 Samuel 25 from Blue Letter Bible)
A submission that speaks, but speaks sweetly instead of sharply.
This statement resonates with me, so much.
But how do I un-sharpen my tongue?
That’s a question for which I’m beginning to seek answers for, my answers.
And as with most of life issues, let’s take it, day by day.
Also, check out our Bloom Ladies Exclusive Print Collection that was inspired by 4 amazing women in the Bible; known for their bravery, courage and tenacity to live their utmost for God.
A woman of intelligence and determination.
Abigail is not only recognised for her beauty and brains but also bravery. She was brave enough to take a leap of faith when the odds were against her, humble enough to acknowledge her shortcomings and trusted God's will enough to let go and let Him.