“Wounds inflicted by the tongue
are deeper than the wounds inflicted by the sword,” is an adage that we have
often read and also experienced. These wounds cut deep into the heart and are
not easily cured. Even after years, a person may feel their pain. At times,
these wounds are caused inadvertently and at others in a planned and
cold-blooded way. However, whatever be their nature as human beings it is our
foremost duty to make an all out effort to tame the tongue.
Abusing and cursing others, making
fun of them, lying, misreporting facts, backbiting, slandering others, swearing
false oaths and bearing false witness, lustful chatting, bragging, enticing
others to sin, speaking disrespectfully, expressing arrogance, gossiping, giving
sweeping statements and being judgemental, teasing, flattering and even talking
incessantly are some prominent areas where restraining and containing the tongue
The first step to overcome such
blemishes is to realize that they are blemishes. Realizing faults means that the
job is half done. The other half requires a concerted and sustained effort.
The starting point after this
realization is to plan before hand to hold back the tongue from its evil habits
or letting it enter into a frenzied state; more often than not, this is due to
some reaction that arises within us. Obviously, blemishes of the tongue can be
classified in two categories.
Blemishes which are habitual and
do not involve rage: like lying, backbiting and misreporting facts etc.
Blemishes which occur in rage,
like abusing, screaming and shouting.
Blemishes of the tongue which are
habitual need a concerted effort. They can only be overcome if a person makes up
his mind to root them out by realizing that they are grave sins and not only
besmear one’s inner-self but many a time cause hurt, deceit and damage to
others. These blemishes are a shame to humankind and bring disrepute to it. We
should first of all enlist all these blemishes and work out a plan to eradicate
them one by one. We should pray to God to prod and intimate us right before we
commit some blemish of the tongue and then the courage and strength to overcome
it. Being prodded is essential because in blemishes committed as a habit we
often are not even aware of what we are doing. The next step is to apply brakes.
This needs will power to stop short of entering the highway that leads to
excesses of the tongue. It may not work every time and it is not meant to work
every time. We are not angels and neither can we ever be. We have to realize
that we cannot be good all the time. However, we must be good most of the time.
The first target is not humanly achievable; the second one is and it is to
realize it that we should work for. A daily plan of self-accountability is
needed for improved results. We must take time out every day to think over the
blemishes we have committed with our tongues in the previous twenty four hours
and then resolve to do better in the next twenty four hours.
Blemishes of the tongue which
occur in rage need prior planning as well. When overcome with rage, we need to
delay our reaction. Merely deferring our response at that time can go a long way
in reducing the harm caused. Inhaling a deep breath, taking a glass of water,
changing one’s posture or location can help a lot. If our anger is caused by
some person, we need should try bring to mind the good qualities in that person.
We can vent our rage by uttering whatever we have in mind in seclusion. Fasting
helps to restrain rage and hence the misuse of the tongue. Even after adopting
all these measures, it will still take time to overcome this habit and it will
not go overnight. So during this time if one does lose temper and is not able to
restrain his or her tongue, then one thing that should be persistently done in
offering an unconditional apology to the aggrieved party.