I stumbled across a book entitled Language Experience For Nursery and Kindergarten Years by Gertrude B. Corcoran. It’s child-development-type book, and I thought it might have something useful in it for my work with Noah. It’s a secular book published in 1976, back when it was still politically correct to cite and reference scripture in secular work. “The Book of James, Chapters 1 and 2, depicts the tongue as an indicator of man’s spiritual development. Used as the figurative description of speech, the tongue is also an indicator of man’s mental, emotional, and social development. Therefore, what comes out of the mouths of babes can be a critical factor in determining the foundation upon which man’s language is built.”
James 2: 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
James 3: 1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire,a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body,sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Of course, I don’t think that in Noah’s present state that his language and lack thereof is indicative of his spiritual development. I think it’s indicative of the impact of his Down syndrome and possible apraxia.
But for most of us, can’t we relate to what James is saying? When we’re walking closely with the Lord, when we’re praying without ceasing, when we’re in the Word on a regular basis, isn’t it reflected in how we speak, what we choose to say, what we choose to leave unsaid. And when we’re out of relationship with the Lord, how quickly that is reflected in our speech.
Just a good reminder that I needed to stumble across when I was least expecting it.
Takeaway for today: Just because something is true doesn’t mean it needs to be said.
Oh be careful little mouth what you say; for the Father up above is looking down with love, oh be careful little mouth what you say.