The psalmist likened his tongue to the pen of a ready writer, and interesting comparison. I would like to take the liberty of rearranging that thought. For, when I write, and maybe you think this also, my pen become the tongue of a focused writer.
Now that can be dangerous or it can be exciting. Depending upon what is motivating the tongue the words and story written will resemble a fire. It could be words that warm and melt a frozen heart or wild, uncontrolled expressions which leaves the mind in ashes. In comparing the pen and the tongue and the results which can be produced I turn to the Biblical book of James. In chapter three he takes us through many aspects of the tongue which are negative and nasty. I wonder what roused him to write in such a manner as a warning to us all. I do wish he had also said some nice and noble things the tongue can utter. As writers our words are coloured by what has invaded our hearts, stirred our emotions, affected our relationships or impacted our belief system. Whatever our genre and however we tell our story our pen becomes the tongue which reveals the passions and the purposes driving us to write.
James’ description of the tongue can be applied to some unpleasant and unfortunate things I’ve read. This can apply from graffiti to gory and ghastly volumes. But for us as Christian writers our tongue has been given the ‘soap and water’ treatment. Actually, that was applied to our heart and mind (1 Corinthians 6:11) and our tongue as a pen reveals the transformation. Moses had some strong words to say and record. We can read what his tongue said because his pen expressed it. However in Deuteronomy32:1-3 is an eloquent use of the pen. “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; And hear, O earth the words of my mouth. Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distil as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass. For I proclaim the name of the Lord:”
There are times when the tongue of the pen has to say strong words, harsh and confronting words. However, there is no poison being injected. Paul challenges us with ‘let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one’ (Colossians 4:6). Proverbs has a lot to say about the tongue in a favourable way. When our readers put down our writing or story through all its twists and turns, struggles and sorrows surely they will long to feel something similar to what Proverbs mentions. ‘It has been choice silver’ (10:20) It reveals the tongue of the wise promoting health (12:18) and it produces a ‘tree of life’ (15:4). Truly, death and life are present in the tongue of the pen (18:21) and as writers we are charged with revealing the One who is ‘The Life!’
May the pen speak to the reader that which our heart would long to share with their ears from our tongue. The psalmist put it very well for us writers in psalm 19:14:’Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart [which I’ve put to paper] be acceptable in your sight.’
©Ray Hawkins March 2017.