I have been thinking a lot about words lately...mainly because I have been realizing that I say a lot of things that don't need to be said. I kept thinking about Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk from conference a few years back entitled "The Tongue of Angels". I have been studying it and really trying to follow the counsel that he gives in it. He quotes one of my favorite scriptures from the book of James who tells us of a way where we can become perfect.
"Said James: "For in many things we offend all. [But] if any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Continuing the imagery of the bridle, he writes: "Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also...ships, which though they be...great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm."
Then James makes his point: "The tongue is [also] a little member. ...[But] behold, how great a [forest] a little fire [can burn].
"...So is the tongue [a fire] among our member, ...it defileth the whole body, ...it is set on fire of hell.
"For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, ...hath been tamed of mankind:
"But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
"Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
"Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be."
Elder Holland continues, "Is this something we could all work on just a little? Is this an area in which we could each try to be a little more like a "perfect" man of woman?" Then Elder Holland speaks specifically to us women. He says, "Wives, what of the unbridled tongue in your mouth, of the power for good or ill in your words? How is it that such a lovely voice which by divine nature is so angelic, so close to the veil, so instinctively gentle and inherently kind could ever in a turn be so shrill, so biting, so acrid and untamed? A woman's words can be more piercing than any dagger ever forged, and they can drive the people they love to retreat beyond a barrier more distant than anyone in the beginning of that exchange could ever have imagined. Sisters, there is no place in that magnificent spirit of yours for acerbic or abrasive expression of any kind, including gossip or backbiting or catty remarks. Let it never be said of our home or our ward or our neighborhood that "the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity...[burning] among our members."
Well, these words are very humbling to me. I never want my words to be offensive in any manner. I am so grateful for these words from our Heavenly Father spoken through one of His apostles on the earth.
You can read the entire message from Elder Holland by following this link
Or you can watch his message by following this link (sorry, I don't know how to make the link into one word, it's kind of messy looking:)