Former US President Harry Truman had a rule: Any letters written in anger had to sit on his desk for 24 hours before they could be mailed. If at the end of that "cooling off" period, he still felt the same sentiments, he would send the letter. By the end of his life, Truman's unmailed letters filled a large desk drawer. How often in this age of immediate communication would even 24 minutes of wise restraint spare us embarrassment! In his epistle, James addressed a universal theme in human history when he wrote about the damage an uncontrolled tongue can bring. "No man can tame the tongue", he wrote. "It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison" (James 3:8).
When we're gossiping or speaking in anger, we find ourselves outside the lines of what God desires. Our tongues, our pens, and even our keyboards should more often fall silent with thanks in our hearts for the restraint God provides. All too often, when we speak we remind everyone of our brokenness as human beings. All of us undergo this process.
When we want to surprise others with the difference Christ makes, we may need to look no further than restraining our tongue. Others can't help but notice when we honor God with what we say - or don't say. Proverbs 21:23 reminds us that "Whoever guard his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles". Let us always be reminded about this: be careful about your words. Examine it first before you throw it out. Let it be a blessed one.