Dr Sangster on taming the tongue


I’m an extrovert thinker, which can be a problem when my tongue is working ahead of my brain. I was on a diocesan training course last week and wonder why it is that when clergy get together, the problem of the tongue is at its worst. If only my thoughts could be completely sanctified by being focused on Christ at all times, as Dr Sangster writes in his Westminster pamphlet “A Spiritual Check-up”:

Do I mount constant guard on my tongue? – or, is my heart so full of God that even my most unpremeditated words could only be of love?

Or, I am critical of others?

Do people know me as one whose conversation is constantly censorious?

Do I doubt that it is still a high compliment to say of anyone ‘You never hear him speak an unkind word against a soul’?

What makes me so critical of others:
jealousy?
inferiority?
just hatefulness?

Is it possible, then, that I claim to be a Christian and nurse revenge? nourish an unforgiving spirit? harbour dislike of other people?

Can I not see that any good I try to do is more than neutralized by this bitterness?
I am not happy myself.
People fear my jaundiced tongue.
Folk suspect I speak the same of them behind their backs.

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