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Stillness of The Tongue

Someone with a peaceful manner of speaking is loved by all, but a restless tongue makes its owner make many errors. There are various outward signs of a restless tongue which we may mention:

1. The talkative tongue, which never stops talking, while the Bible says: "In the multitude of words sin is not lacking," (Prov. 10:19). It is a tongue which talks continuously on any subject, even on things that are beyond its scope and knowledge. It cannot keep quiet. It cannot control itself to within its lips and teeth. It has to go out and talk, and just cannot stop at all, even on the finer points of science and politics! The main thing is that it talks and that is enough, even about other people's affairs, their secrets and personal matters. It is a restless tongue. And due to its restlessness, its owner cannot control it or subdue it. The Apostle James says: "If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless." (James 1:26). Therefore every person needs to curb his tongue and not leave it free to wander restlessly from one subject to another, without restraint. If he is unable to do this, then let him pray and say: "Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips." (Ps. 141:3).

2. From a restless tongue comes a sharp, raised, loud voice. The Bible gives us an example of calm speech in the conversation between God and the Prophet Elijah: "and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, ... and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. .. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" (1 Kin. 19:11:13) , and this was God's voice speaking to him. The calm person speaks in a quiet voice like a passing breeze, but the restless person speaks with a voice like a gusty wind. There are preachers who, even in a sermon, preach with a high, sharp voice and reprove the congregation harshly. What was said about the public speakers of old applies to them, that they 'shook the columns of the pulpits' and had their listeners sitting on the edge of their seats. Such methods of preaching tend to upset the people instead of having spiritual effects. The spiritual preacher convinces the congregation through calm spiritual teaching and through the action of the Spirit in him and in them, kindling them with God's love through the effectiveness of the Spirit, and not the agitation of the bodily senses. Many people are affected during the sermon by a preacher who himself is over-excited. But after a while they lose this effect. On the other hand, calm spiritual persuasion has a more permanent and has a greater effect within the soul.

Although a loud voice has to be used sometimes in the middle of a crowd of people so that they can hear, there is no need at all to use it in private conversations! The calm person does not raise his voice when he is talking with others. He does not use a voice that is louder than his listener requires. Thus in his discussions there is no noisiness. Is it not sometimes the case that when some people are holding a discussion, they raise their vices and interrupt, so that those who hear think that they are quarrelling?! Yes, to be sure, there are some people who shout when they talk and shriek when they whisper. They talk rapidly and their voices are noisy.

3. Among the outward signs of a voice that lacks calmness there is also the tendency to use hurtful, harsh words. There may be a person, for example, whose speech is harsh and difficult, whose words are bitter, hurtful, critical, biting, and destructive. Whose words are expelled from his mouth as if they were a shell from a rocket. He could express the same opinion and intention with calm words.

4. One of the aspects of calmness of the tongue is calmness in conversation. The calm person discusses quietly and in this way wins others over. Just as Saint Didimus the Blind used to do when he debated with philosophers and heathens with the utmost politeness, without attacking them. His method was to win them, not crush or embarrass them. The restless speaker turns the conversation into a fight or a quarrel in which the discussion gets heated and the atmosphere tense and extremely electric.

You find a readiness to pounce and attack in his manner, and a strong tendency to reply before he has heard the opinion in full. He converses with you not to understand you or to arrive at the truth with you, but in order to dumbfound you by his own arguments and to defeat you and shatter your opinions and expose your weakness. During the conversation he feels that he has to ridicule you and your views and make you a laughing stock, as if you are an enemy and he wants to get his revenge. On the other hand, the person who discusses calmly, wins you

over as a friend during the conversation. He talks objectively, with complete calmness, not interrupting during your speaking or being too personal, and if you become too excited he calms you down.

He may persuade you so that you come to agree on his opinion without you feeling that you have gone away defeated. His calmness does not in any way make you feel that you are adversaries, but rather that you are two friends trying to arrive at the truth together. In contrast to this is the highly-strung speaker whose eyes redden during the discussion, whose voice is raised and who gets exasperated raising objections irritably and rudely. He may even use words which imply an insult. People who are not calm are always interrupting each other when they are discussing. There may be five in the discussion, four talking at once with just one listening to the noise. None of them are prepared to listen any of the others. They all interrupt each other, whereas if there were a hundred calm people having a discussion it would be done in strict order, you would not hear an outside voice. Though many ideas wrestle with each other, there is only one truth. Yet each person thinks that the truth is his personal view.

If there is calmness you can come together with people, however different their views, in a conversation that is filled with love.

5. What we have been saying about discussion we can also say about reproof.

The quiet reproach leads to peace, while the loud one only exacerbates the division and contention. We have a beautiful example of the Lord Jesus rebuking Peter after the Resurrection. He did not say to him, "Come here, you traitor, you who were afraid of a servant girl, you who swore and cursed and said, 'I don't know the man'. Is this what you promised me before when you said, "If everyone denies you, 1 will not deny you'?"

The Lord Jesus did not say a single hurtful word to him, he just asked him quietly, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, 'Feed My sheep.' He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?' ... 'Feed My lambs.' ... 'Tend My sheep.'" (John 21:15-17). And he repeated the question three times, until Peter understood. The rebuke had its effect and love was established, without Peter's heart being wounded.

6. It is not only desirable that the tongue should be calm, but even more so that it should be calming. As an example of calming speech we have the words of the Bible: "A soft answer turns away wrath". (Prov. 15: 1) Another example is the comforting father confessor, who soothes the soul of the one confessing and gives him peace of the heart, releasing him from his heart's unrest that has occurred on account of his sins. In contrast to that is the father confessor who sends the penitent away feeling that he has lost his peace, overcome by despair and feeling that he must inevitably be doomed. The calm person's serenity overflows onto others, and soothes them if they are distressed. But the restless person infects them with his turmoil and unsettles them if they are calm.

Calmness, BY the late H.H. Pope Shenouda III, 117th Pope of Alexandria and the See of St. Mark.  




ካብ ውሽጢ ኤርትራ ዝተረኽበ ንቤተ ክርስቲያን ተዋህዶ ንምቁጽጻር ብመንግስቲ ኤርትራ ክካየድ ዝጸንሐን ዘሎን ሽርሒ ዘቃልዕ ቪድዮ 

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