Aren’t you constantly amazed at how much power and influence our tongues wield? One minute we’re uplifting and encouraging someone, the next minute we can literally kill with hurtful words.

controlling our tongues

One of my not-so-fine experience during my masters programme happened at a potluck Afro-Carribean dinner. Carribeans and Africans generally love a good meal – infused with flavour.  While many of us gathered around the electric cooker as someone fried plantains and another put finishing touches to the jerk ribs – our classmate walked in, apologising for being slightly late. She took off her gloves and proceeded to take off her scarves and jacket.

In the midst of her doing that, I think I must have said “these layers make you look fat”. In a split second, the atmosphere in the room froze and honestly, as cliche as this sounds you could have put a knife through the tension in the room. It was thick. I realised how the last three words I uttered had obviously been misinterpreted. To make things worse, a couple of people chose to say “oh Kachi there’s some things you just shouldn’t say”. I wished I could take back the words. I could see how visibly hurt she was, and even though she proceeded to accept my heart-felt apology our camaderie was just never quite the same. Which is such a shame. But then fat was the very last thing i intended to say. I sort of just meant to say she had on a number of layers.

I later realised that she was a bit sensitive about her hips and lower body size, and so those words hit a nerve.

In our everyday life,  there are so many ways we often misuse our tongues. These include:

1. Saying hurtful words

Like the one that happened above. I agree sometimes, it’s so not intentional and sometimes the supposed hurtful word seems so trivial. I remember I once got quite hurt when I had been all dressed up one day and my husband said “you’re wearing this shoe again”? Lol! See, now I’m laughing but then I thought “why so mean” and it really got to me?

2. Slander/Calumny and Detraction

Slander and Calumny refer to making of FALSE statements about someone in order to damage their reputation. There’s a fair chance that many people do not intentionally set out to slander. But then, let’s consider Detraction.  The difference between this and the first category, is that Detraction is tarnishing a person’s reputation by saying stuff that is in many cases TRUE. But the fact that it’s true doesn’t mean that we must say it. For example, if someone in her past life, was a thief or a prostitute, doesn’t mean we must, at the earliest opportunity, fill everyone in on this fact. To bring it closer to home, many times I come across ‘juicy’ gists about a person and i’m itching to spill to Tee and my friends. But on second thought, they’ll likely (unknowingly) judge this person so it’s not much use.

3. Gossip/ Back biting

I’ve been in gathering where as soon as one person steps out, (s)he becomes the subject of conversation. And I’m hardly comfortable being there, because I often wonder what gets said about me when I step out.

4. Lies

A bit of white lie here and there for convenience may not be harmful. But still, frequent white lies do no good. Even if these are not harmful to anyone, it could lead to a loss of integrity and people cease to take you seriously. In addition, sometimes, the smallest white lie has such a huge ripple effect.

In this digital age, where we often engage in faceless communication, it’s worth thinking about what we say online. Are you one to hide behind your computer and leave insulting, disrespecting remarks about people. Or munch a picture of the girl you really don’t like and gossip about her in one of your Whatsapp groups?

Choosing to avoid misusing our tongues is such a conscious decision. And sometimes, really that news is just to ‘juicy’ to not share. But to what end?. Here’s a few ways we can intentionally seek to limit how we misuse our words:

  • Take a minute to think about what you’re about to say or do (particularly as regards online communication). Fruitful or nah? There’s an acronym for this. WAIT – Why Am I Talking?
  • Make a decision to avoid engaging in gossip. One place that was always the worst, was the local salons. Good grief, they never ran out of what to say about the neighbours. Choose instead to read a book or plug your ears. And honestly, after gauging the crowd, it may be okay to say ‘Guys do you really have to discuss this?’ Chances are they’ll stop and continue when you leave, but at least, you made your point. Office gossip is also increasingly common, that we fail to even realise it’s gossip.
  • Instead of saying something hurtful, try complimenting instead. There has to be something good to say! I once heard this funny story. A very mean and wicked man had died, and the whole neighbourhood was jubilating, estactic. Only one woman kept wailing. Why? When asked, she said “Oh he had such perfect white teeth. So sad that those teeth are no more”. Go figure!
  • Listen more and do less (unnecessary) talking generally. This is the reason we have two ears and one mouth.
  • Just keep quiet. Hard, I know – as many times you have the perfect insulting remark to just say to someone!

controlling our tongue from saying the wrong things

For those of us who tend to get hurt when people joke about our shoes and all, let’s not take life that seriously, especially when we know they meant no harm. No need being overly sensitive to what people say and reading a million un-intended meanings into it.

Finally for Christians, it ultimately takes the Grace of God, and we must seek His grace to tame our tongues. I’m amazed at the number of verses that speak about the power of the tongue! Please take a minute to see an exhaustive and really helpful list here. And I love this article on ways to control our tongue – especially the bit of dedicating our tongues to God each day.

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

James 3:10 (ESV)

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord

Psalm 19:14 (ESV)

I’m sure we’ve all had any experiences were we’ve been hurt by people’s words? Or were we’ve hurt someone with our words knowingly or unknowingly – and then regretted this? Let’s talk about it! Whats’s your greatest struggle in keeping your tongue in check and what’s the way forward? I know there’s so much more to be said on this, so I’m relying on you to share your thoughts and continue the conversation!

Love,

Kachee… Xx

Read too: Why I (finally) started my blog on Ash Wednesday and The Man I Judged and the Woman that Judged Me


24 COMMENTS

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24 Comments

  1. ifunanya Dibiaezue

    September 12, 2016 at 07:59

    This is really true, I personally have a hard time with this cause I am very vocal and frank, so i tend to hurt people with my overly honest views and opinions. I recently learnt to keep said views to myself. Plus this is 2016, everybody is so touchy about everything, it is exhausting! Nice post…xxxxhttps://www.sunlightdreamer…

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      September 12, 2016 at 16:24

      I agree, that lots of people are more touchy. Definitely trying to work on that. Thanks a lot for reading girl! xx

      Reply
  2. Precious

    September 12, 2016 at 12:55

    That picture at the top is so funny!Thanks for sharing, Kachi. Some things should rather be left unsaid. Sometimes we unknowingly hurt people with our tongue but when we realise that, it helps to apologise. Those hair saloons! That’s where people’s life histories are told. SMHTaming the tongue is one of the greatest disciplines a person can learn.PreciousCore.com

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      September 12, 2016 at 17:56

      I know! I saw the photo and I just couldn’t help but share. Salons are the worst indeed. Thanks for always reading Precious! Xx

      Reply
  3. Tunrie

    September 13, 2016 at 12:46

    This is so on point. It does take a lot of reflection to realise how much this applies to us. In my moments of reflection and meditation, I try to ask the Holy Spirit if the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart were acceptable. I know I’m not disappointing God but anytime I feel convicted by the Holy Spirit, I know I’ve slipped up lol. Oh and about weight, I stopped commenting on weight loss or gain. I know how body issues could be.

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      September 13, 2016 at 17:34

      Thanks Tunrie! Weight is actually quite sensitive – whether loss or gain. Best to stay clear!

      Reply
  4. Bababi

    September 13, 2016 at 19:12

    Very nice topic. I used to be very honest about all my opinions. So for example if i visited your home and your living room was dirty I’ll tell you honestly how dirty your home is and how that doesn’t give a good impression of you to visitors. Just an example. My family and close friends always told me how harsh they thought my “honesty” was. I didn’t realise How bad it was until I made a comment to a bride about how her intended unique wedding dress didn’t turn out so nice. She was visibly hurt and frankly the pain she felt from my true but unnecessary comment registered in my brain for so long that I felt guilty for so long. That experience made me decide to control my tongue. It was initially tough, but I think I’m getting a hang of it now. If my tongue is about to blurt out something, regardless of how true it may be, I make myself WAIT and just shut up.

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      September 13, 2016 at 19:20

      I so agree with you! Sometimes it may be true and all, but either the way we say it or the way the person receives it just doesn’t make it end end. Ultimately we need Wisdom in knowing what to say and what not to say! Thanks for sharing darling. And I can imagine how a comment about a wedding dress will be pretty sensitive. Lol!

      Reply
  5. Amakamedia

    September 14, 2016 at 06:19

    This is truth. Thanks KacheeTee.The Bible says “by the fruits, you shall know them.” We are judged by our words as well as our actions. We need to live carefully.amakamedia.com

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      September 14, 2016 at 10:14

      We need to indeed.Conscious decisions day by day!

      Reply
  6. BagosMutendiBlog

    September 14, 2016 at 11:20

    My dear, Number 3 still trails me till date and I have decided not to let it bother me anymore because I love me some inner peace abeg…Besides, I haven’t exactly being the perfect person all my life and I have said some hurtful things in the past but maturity, experience and most importantly the gospel of James has been especially helpful. Have missed the blog…

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      September 15, 2016 at 09:37

      The books of James is actually so spot on and helpful in regards to this. We’ve all made mistakes in teh past. I think it’s about deciding to do better! We missed you too!

      Reply
  7. ADAORA NWAJIAKU

    September 15, 2016 at 12:20

    It’s amazing how the Bible actually addresses ‘all’ areas of life. Lord help me read and practice even more! It’s especially hard to not say a thing when it’s “too juicy”, and true! I know firsthand. Or when the person has said stuff about you too. *Rolls eyes. But yeah, not everything must be said. And God did say- vengeance is mine. Lol. It’s well!Way to go, Kach.

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      September 15, 2016 at 12:25

      Look who stopped by!! Everyday I’m more in awe of the bible honestly. The juicy bit is the most difficult for me sometimes. Thanks for sharing! Xx

      Reply
      • ADAORA NWAJIAKU

        September 15, 2016 at 12:31

        Lol, I know! Had to finally do this disqus thing, and it wasn’t even as ‘protocolish’ as i’d wrongly presumed it would be. Lol. 😘

        Reply
  8. Bubu Green

    September 15, 2016 at 23:14

    If you were a pastor, this is where we say “grace” and give offering cos you’ve said it all. The Ibos will say “church agbasa-ala!”. This right here is TRUTH! http://www.bubusboulevard.com

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      September 15, 2016 at 23:20

      Bubu! I love the Igbo you sprinkle on this site! 😂😂. Forever making me laugh. Thank you! ❤️

      Reply
  9. Ify Halim

    September 17, 2016 at 12:42

    Awesome post, Kachee! The power of words is truly amazing (it’s one of the reasons why I love writing and the media actually 😊). Thank you for reminding us why it’s good to use words to build and not break people, and explaining it so nicely.www.ifyhalim.com

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      September 18, 2016 at 00:10

      Thank you for reading Ify!

      Reply
  10. glowingscenes

    October 6, 2016 at 22:05

    I actually read this post when it was released and I think it was a great post irrespective of not getting enough comments like others as you expressed on IG and a month recap if I’m not mistaken.For me, I’m learning to bless with my words rather than impress. It’s good to impress, but blessing people takes so much and not everyone can do this or might even get to appreciate it, but you sent out light, and someone will be touched by it.Lovely post once again kachee 🙂 xo!

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      October 9, 2016 at 21:40

      Thanks love! I def agree with you. It’s much more than the number of comments or likes! Plus a few people let me know in private that they felt touched by it, so it was worth it absolutely. Have a great week!

      Reply
  11. Arrey Echi

    October 26, 2016 at 12:18

    I make a conscious effort to be positive with my words both written and spoken. It is not always easy but it is better than hurting people constantly with our choice of words.Great article.www.joy2endure.comhttp://joy2endure.com/index…

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      October 26, 2016 at 12:24

      Thank you Arrey! It’s not always easy indeed and it’s a struggle. But we keep trying.

      Reply
  12. Enkay Ede

    November 7, 2016 at 18:14

    How i love this post.Ok…I have always been one to have a sharp tongue and like my friends would say,my clapback game is strong.BUT,i really don’t take pride in it.It took a lot for me to be who I am regardless of every bit of hateful words and gossip people spread with my name so it made me grow a thick skin and just dish out what am served.i grew up to make my words my bullets since my fists couldnt help me out.I joke a lot and I have come to realise that sometimes what we consider a joke or harmless may infact hurt someone beyond our understanding.you may see your friend wearing an outfit that clearly doesn’t look good on her but that doesn’t mean she would be ok with you telling her that.Once in a while I do get hurt by false lies people spread about me so I try as much as possible to avoid doing such to someone else.a good name is very important.I really love this post and we should all realise that it’s ok to not talk when gossip is going on especially if we lack the facts.WAIT…keeping this in mind.lovely post dearStylebyenkay.blogspot.com

    Reply

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