Believe the best, forgive the rest.

I have books for the whole family!

By Neva Bodin

Just Put a Bag (Or a Feed Trough) Over My Head  


Much of the speech in our culture now is peppered with “four-letter” words designed to show how disgusted and angry we are. Using them in that manner cheapens the natural God-given functions they sometimes describe. Even the function God created for our pleasure and which gives us the power to bring a brand-new human being into our world is a slang word. God’s beautiful plan for us—a slang word!  

However, those words stick in my brain. I hear them way too often in casual conversations near me.  

 “But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language” (Colossians 3:8).  

Guilt, shame, and disgust at remembering these utterances when I’m under stress undermines my self-esteem and pushes me further from God. I close my eyes and hang my head. I may not say them, but just thinking them is evil gaining a toe-hold. I want to put a bag (or a trough) over my head and hide.  

At those times, I think how smart God is to let us be able to keep our thoughts private. He knew where those thoughts would go sometimes, what they could do to others and to us once we say them. I thank him that only he knows my opinions unless I utter them.  

However, I read that our government, and others, are working on a 

plan that will make possible the implanting of a “chip” in a person’s brain to enable telepathic communications. This will allow us to communicate with the internet or machines through our thoughts. And we think we know how to bully others now! (The only chips I want in my body come from a potato.)  

It’s easy to remember the hurts and angry expressions others say out loud and to bury the memory of the ones we let slip out through our lips. The slogan created by the War Advertising Council during World War II said, “Loose lips sink ships.” Well, loose lips can sink my spiritual ship too before it even sets sail.   

How can I be a beacon, a light shining for the greatest light of all, if I can’t control my thoughts, which leak out that orifice with the flapping tongue that should be praising God and uplifting others?  

“But no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).   

How do we deal with our unruly tongues? King David, a man after God’s own heart, wrote in Psalm 39:1: “I said to myself, ‘I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me.’”  

I saw a metal mask in a museum. Called a “Scolds Bridle,” this was a mask of shame like those used in Scotland, England, and other European countries in the sixteenth century as a woman’s punishment for gossip or, I imagine, whatever other transgression someone thought she committed. 

They were uncomfortable and did not allow the woman to speak or eat while wearing them. They depressed her tongue, much like a bit on a horse’s bridle. Extreme punishment meted out by man.   

I am grateful God is there to help me manage my thoughts and tongue now, through prayer and God-given self-control. But I must exercise that self-control daily!