Refine it, and sweeten it, and sanctify it
by Alexander Smellie
The Hour of Silence, 1899
The tongue has the power of life and death. Proverbs 18:21
For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. James 3:2
My tongue is a great power.
Its words wound or else they cure.
They poison or else they bless.
Once they have gone forth from me, shot like arrows into the air, they will find their lodgment, and they will accomplish their errand.
I cannot recall them.
I cannot cancel and undo them.
For weal or for woe, they have sped away from me.
There is a sense in which my words are my deeds; they achieve as much of mercy or of misery, of healing or of harming as my actions do.
Far too often my tongue has been an agent of mischief and hurt. It has spoken untenderly or untruly, harshly or hastily.
My tongue has suggested unworthy motives to the deeds of others. It has magnified their failures and errors. It has been a firebrand. It has distributed bitter and corroding acids instead of the honeycomb. Sometimes it has been the propagandist of actual sin.
My Lord, consecrate and keep this tongue of mine. Refine it, and sweeten it, and sanctify it. May it love . . .
the voice of prayer,
the voice of confession,
the voice of encouragement,
the voice of consolation and comfort,
the voice of worship and thanksgiving.