There is plenty of advice about the tongue from every word of wisdom, not to mention, scriptures – indeed, every form of scripture. James, in this Sunday’s Epistle Reading, writes: “How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire…For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by human species, but no one can tame the tongue…”
There has been plenty of tonguing in the past two days, fires have been lit in Libya, Yemen and in Cairo – the latter under different circumstances but could catch on the flames of the first two. In response, politicians have put the tongue into full speed, primarily to advance their political arsenals against one another.
While the atrocity in Benghazi, Libya, may have been planned – as some have suggested – to coincide with the September 11 anniversary, the events in Cairo and Yemen may well be the fire that the tongue ignites. Violence is the more obvious course.
Yet violence – regardless of who instigates it – breeds more violence. September 11 was a blatant act of violence. The response was violence in Afghanistan and Iraq and that cycle still spins. Thousands of innocent lives have continued to be lost and even today there are those calling for even more violence.
In the two previous posts “It is no easy task” and “Not an easy task” I wrestled with the issue of revenge, (or violence), or “throwing up” (inability to forgive) as an easy path. Yet, only two days after the September 11 anniversary and the outset of violence in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, it is “not easy” to talk about forgiveness (and reconciliation) because it sounds – to many – unpatriotic, apologetic, or even powerless.
Still, that is where real power lies, and to the world, it is foolishness and even difficult to comprehend.