In Others’ Words: Bite Your Tongue

I wanted to let someone have it last night.

And I know that person wanted to say a few … um … special words to me too.

But I didn’t.

I could feel the words banging on the back of my clenched teeth. I could almost see them forming in a cloud above my head.

But I knew once I said those oh-so-perfect-for-the-moment words, I wouldn’t be able to take them back.

Been there.

Said that.

And regretted it for years.

Yes, years.

This time, I kept my mouth shut. Swallowed my words. Let the moment pass. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned a few things … and one of them is that silence is often the wiser choice.


Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;

so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. (Proverbs 17:14 NIV)


In Your Words: What do you do when the wrong words are on the tip of your tongue?



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  1. March 22, 2013, 5:10 am   /  Reply

    Love that quote! Sometimes we feel the need to have the last word or feel we need to be right. Keeping quiet says an lot more than starting a verbal war.

    • March 22, 2013, 7:33 am   /  Reply

      Love that, LJ: “Keeping quiet says a lot more than starting a verbal war.”

  2. Alena Tauriainen
    March 22, 2013, 6:00 am   /  Reply

    Words have the power to hurt and to heal. I decided to keep my tongue between my teeth when I’m emotional because you can never take those words back. Sometimes that drives my husband insane but it helps me not have as much regret later.

    Thanks for keeping it real Beth!

  3. March 22, 2013, 7:34 am   /  Reply

    Agreed, Alena.
    I’ve had to tell other people that sometimes it’s best for me to walk away then continue a “conversation.” That way I don’t say something I’ll regret later.

  4. March 22, 2013, 7:50 am   /  Reply

    I’d LIKE to be all Proverbs 31 woman and say this has never happened to me.
    But, bold face lying is a sin.

    I have struggled, at times mightily, to sail my ship on a proper course, but every once in a while, a black gale comes along and I end up three sheets to the wind. Which, translated, means I try to mind my words, but under duress, I lose control and my words go flying.
    I know full well that I have a decent command of English, but I have learned that sometimes command is nothing unless given with respect.

    It is easier to be self deprecating, somewhat droll and dry, harmless to others and silly than it is to mend hurts that one brings on at the expense of a friend for the entertainment of snobs who don’t care about me anyway.

    • March 22, 2013, 7:57 am   /  Reply

      Well said.
      Rather, well-written.

  5. March 22, 2013, 7:54 am   /  Reply

    Reading a great book called Unglued teaching me a lot about this very thing. I’m relearning. I’m good at that! 😀

    • March 22, 2013, 7:57 am   /  Reply

      Me too.
      The good at relearning part, that is.
      Haven’t read the book yet.

  6. March 22, 2013, 8:01 am   /  Reply

    I bite the tip of my tongue, too. When I first started doing that I went to bed with a throbbing tongue every night, but it’s helped a lot. My temper has gotten a lot longer. When my kids were teens, the mantra was, “Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.”

    • March 22, 2013, 3:32 pm   /  Reply

      Love that mantra, Wendy.

  7. March 22, 2013, 8:10 am   /  Reply

    Yep, biting ’til it’s blue sometimes! Sometimes I make the mistake of thinking that those close to me can bear the brunt when I say exactly what’s on my mind. But more often than not, that’s a bad idea unless they specifically ask for my opinion. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but hurt looking back at me from the eyes of someone I love serves as a good classroom.

    • March 22, 2013, 3:32 pm   /  Reply

      Exactly so, Donna.

  8. March 22, 2013, 8:14 am   /  Reply

    I bite my tongue. There are times my tongue has sores on it because I’m biting it a lot. I’m learning to take a step back from the emotion and shush up until I have a minute to process through what just happened. My honey and I find that, when we’re in an argument, we sometimes need a little time apart to sort through thoughts and feelings. When we come back together to talk “it” out, we can usually verbalize our thoughts in less hurtful ways.

    Silence can indeed be my friend.

    • March 22, 2013, 3:33 pm   /  Reply

      Speaking from emotion — it can be a beautiful thing … or the worst possible thing.

  9. March 22, 2013, 8:32 am   /  Reply

    Definitely know the sore-tongue affliction. My problem isn’t so much not responding to someone in anger, but…gasp….gossip. Passing along that little tidbit in the form of a prayer request. God has really been working on me about this…love Wendy’s saying–“Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.”

    • March 22, 2013, 3:34 pm   /  Reply

      Ah, yes, the gossip-disguised-as-a-prayer-request.
      Been there, prayed that.
      Learned not to.

  10. March 22, 2013, 9:06 am   /  Reply

    I’ve said too much too many times and immediately regretted it. Gotta give my lips a workout more often, clamping them together when I’m tempted to talk and it’s not the right time. Silence is a great alternative. And prayer. Lotsa prayer.

    • March 22, 2013, 3:34 pm   /  Reply

      For me, learning to value silence came with age.

  11. Megan DiMaria
    March 22, 2013, 10:10 am   /  Reply

    You’re a wise woman, Beth Vogt!

    • March 22, 2013, 3:35 pm   /  Reply

      Hard-won wisdom, Megan.

  12. March 22, 2013, 10:14 am   /  Reply

    Oh how I love this, Beth. I recently worked with someone for 10 hours straight who was very difficult to deal with … can’t begin to tell you the things I wanted to say, but didn’t. And she wants to do it again and on a regular basis. I don’t think so, but I’m glad I kept my mouth shut.

    Sort of funny thing happened after the fact, I ended up with fever blisters, then read somewhere they’re the physical sign for “festering angry words.” Well, yeah. But blisters heal in a week or so … angry words, not so much.

    Thanks for sharing wisdom, always.

    • March 22, 2013, 3:35 pm   /  Reply

      Ve-ery interesting, Kim.
      Ve-ery interesting.

  13. Katie Beth
    March 22, 2013, 10:33 am   /  Reply

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom so consistently! I learn from you on a regular basis. I’m blessed to have you as a mom!

    • March 22, 2013, 2:12 pm   /  Reply

      Wish there was a LOVE button.

    • March 22, 2013, 3:37 pm   /  Reply

      And I have learned from you — from all of my children.

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