Cassidy sent out an email to her boss. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Grok Inc. cited several recent incidents that occurred and accused Konrad, a coworker and fellow executive, of harassing her and generally acting like a jerk. The boss was surprised because he had worked with Konrad for years and had never before received complaints like this about him or observed him to act in a way that was disrespectful to others. So he asked his CFO to call him. When she did, he questioned her as to what exactly Konrad had done. In the course of the conversation the boss realized that Cassidy was making several bad assumptions about her coworker. It especially galled him that she had not discussed her concerns with Konrad before sending him the negative report.*
James 3:7-9—For every creature—animal or bird, reptile or fish—is tamed and has been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who are made in God’s likeness.
If James were alive and writing today, I believe he would cite negative emails as an extension to his teaching about the volatile tongue. They become a record of our rashness, live on as data bytes or printed material, and can be forwarded more destructively than an oral report. In essence they become a poison of greater magnitude.
Through our computer tongue, too often we say things that are negative about others that we later regret. When we criticize and judge the motives of others we spread discord. We also reveal ourselves to be angry, insensitive, insecure, mean-spirited, vengeful and foolish. From a sick heart come sick words. James writes, “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (3:18). From a heart at peace come kind, gentle, constructive or fair-minded words that reveal wisdom.
Cassidy’s boss confronted her for failing to speak first with Konrad. He reminded her that she would have been furious if he had treated her in such a shabby manner. Second, he admonished her for using strong language—words that imputed guilt and damaged Konrad’s reputation. Third, he said she had no right to judge his motives simply because she resented his actions—none of which were unethical, illegal or immoral. Finally, he helped her determine that her wounded pride was the source of her spewing. From insecurity she crafted hasty accusations. To her credit, she called Konrad and apologized. A contentious spirit became contrite and peace was restored to the upper echelon of Grok.
The tongue is a thermometer; it tells us our spiritual temperature. It is also a thermostat; it controls our spiritual temperature.—Richard J. Foster in Celebration of Discipline
*Not their real names; fictitious company.
©2011 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)