The “Tone of Voice” Struggle & How to Tame Your Tongue

July 8, 2019

Jeannette Tuionetoa

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Have you ever heard people say, “I carry my feelings on my shoulders?” Well, that is me. I spent so many years hiding what I felt and being suppressed that I think I developed a mechanism where I no longer could hide my feelings. What you see is what you get. However, when I grew to know the Lord I knew I had to change.

The \"Tone of Voice\" Struggle & How to Tame Your Tongue

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I look back and see that I have come so far in the “tone of voice” struggle and in taming my tongue. BUT – is that good enough? Is looking back and “being better” enough for what God has done for me?

It surely isn’t. My past reminds me that I have a looong way to go. I praise God that HE said HE would finish what He started.

People can see my concern, worry, sorrow, and depression all over my face – without me even realizing it. Without even saying a word, people (mostly, my family) know something is wrong. Guess what that leads to? NOTHING GOOD!

It leads my husband to ask me why I am so upset when I haven’t even said a word.

It leads to me responding to the kids with the all-to-well-known response moms tend to give when they are busy and have been asked the third question in a row, “WHAAATTTT?!”

If I am being completely candid about this, I can tell you that I wish my husband would just leave me alone when I “look” upset or sad. I don’t need to hear him tell me, “Are we going to have one of those days again?” Things tend to just go so south fairly quickly after that.

I wish my kids would just deal with where their socks are on their own. If they just left me alone, I wouldn’t feel the guilt of seeing their eyes when I respond with a, “WHAAATTTT?!”

If only they would just leave me be, then all would be fine. I wouldn’t have a mean tone of voice with them or have an attitude. (Why do I feel like crying right now?)

The problem with everything I just said is that it points the finger at everyone else – but me.

I have begun a journey of reflecting on myself, instead of others. It has been a loooong one and I think I just started last year. I fail often and yet, HE says His mercies are new every morning so I cling to that. I cling to that as if it were the air I breathe.

I had to first realize the gravity of just how intense the idea of controlling the tongue was. James 3 is a straight forward, in your face depiction of the issue. I fall to my knees in FULL conviction every time.

No matter how long I have been a Christian, and no matter how long I try to suppress it, inside me is a lurking hint of hatred, of bitterness, of jealousy, or pride. When my heart realizes one of these is creeping up, my demeanor is consumed like a balloon. One little word can make me pop.

I say that I have gotten better. Yet what has really happened is that I have learned to pray through it for longer periods of time.

What do I do then to tame my spewing tongue and nasty tone? We… Need… Jesus… We can quit all matter of things within ourselves. We can try to eat better. We can quit smoking or drinking. That tongue though, that is a different beast altogether.


James 3 says … the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

It truly takes the resurrected power of Jesus Christ and turning over our sin to Him, in order for the tongue to be controlled. I thank God that it is not up to me to make this right. I need Him, and He is faithful to complete the work He started.

Will you pray with me?


Maker of the heavens and earth, the giver of mercy and grace – I have learned that only You can control a tongue. Only by Your spirit can I keep quiet and respond in a righteous manner — regardless of how I am feeling. Convict me with my tone and demeanor. Let it drive me to repentance and prayer to avoid further sin in my heart and mouth. Help me yield to you in obedience as I let go of me and have more of you.

Forgive us for what we have made it.


The \"Tone of Voice\" Struggle & How to Tame Your Tongue

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