I am in the Pastorals again (1-2 Tim, Titus), which for me are the most personally precious section of Scripture in this season of life as a young male preparing for what Timothy and Titus were doing when Paul wrote to them. What if the Apostle wrote me a letter in February 2009? I don't have to wonder. These three letters are as close as anything in the Bible to what he would have said.
What is striking me is the repeated emphasis on the tongue. Paul won't leave it alone. One of the dimensions of the critical importance of using our mouths in a life-giving rather than a life-sucking way is to be gentle.
23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. --2 Tim 2:23-25
Is it me or do we not think about this much, hear about it much? I would like to think about it more and cultivate more gentleness in the way I use words. When discussing the Bible or theology in a doctoral seminar, or with a stranger at Starbucks, or with a new believing friend who thinks differently, it is easy to confuse passion for the truth with passion for myself, the latter of which is far more common yet which always feels like the former. One way forward, straight from the Apostle, the same man who wrote Gal 1 and 2 Cor 10-13: cultivate gentleness.