"Watch that tone!" Was a constant phrase I heard from my parents growing up. I was often referred to as, "The Mouth" because I had trouble controlling it...A LOT! I quickly learned that it wasn't always the words I said, but the tone in which I said it. I could relay the same feeling using my tone as effective as biting, cutting words.
This morning as I came downstairs to feed my dog, I asked her, in a high pitched, upbeat happy tone, "Are you hungry?" Her tail quickly swung back and forth, as she jumped up and came to me with a skipping like two-paw hop. I fed her and went upstairs. Then a thought came to me, "Was it my words or my tone that got her so excited?" She definitely knows certain words...especially hungry, nummies & bye bye. So I went back down to test out a little theory...does my tone make a difference to even a dog? In a low, stern tone I asked her, "Are you hungry?" She got up, tail between her legs and went away from where the food was. She curled up next to the front door with her ears back trying to figure out what she did wrong. And before you say, "How mean!"...I quickly repeated the exact same question in a cheerful voice, which once again produced a skipping-like effect as she came to me.
Hmmm...so even a dog can react negatively to my tone.
Now ask yourself: "How many times have I spoken to my husband/wife, parents, kids/siblings, friends/co-workers, etc. with the wrong words and/or tone?" We need to remember to be mindful of not just of the words we say to people but our tone as well.
The Bible says, "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water."James 3:9-12
This has been a personal area of struggle for me over the years and I'm sure I'm not alone in this.
Starting this week, try to work on not only the things that you say to/and or about people, but also the tone in which you say it. Let's try to bear the "fruit" of Christ in our lives so those around us can see the difference; as we pour out His "life giving water," to others.
Pray for help each morning and throughout the day as you struggle in this area.
"The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away." Isaiah 50:4-5