A Gentle Tongue

February 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

A 19th century folktale tells the story of a man who was saying bad things about the town’s wise man. One day, he decided to ask the wise man for forgiveness. The wise man, realizing that this man is not really sorry for his transgressions, told him that he would forgive him on one condition: that he go home, take a feather pillow from his house, cut it up, and scatter the feathers to the wind. After he had done so, he should then come back to him. Though puzzled by this strange request, the man was happy to be let off with such an easy task. When he later returned to the wise man’s house after doing what the wise man asked him to do, the wise man said, “Go now and gather up all the feathers.” “But that’s impossible. The wind has already scattered them,” he replied. “Precisely,” the wise man answered. “It is as impossible to repair the damage done by your words as it is to recover the feathers.”

Proverbs 25:18 warns, “Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is the man who gives false testimony against his neighbor.” On the positive side, Proverbs 25:15 says, “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.”

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