I Am Joe’s Tongue

(with apologies to J. D. Ratcliff, of Readers Digest fame)

I am quite something! I cannot help but boast! I am used by Joe in all his waking hours, and sometimes in his sleep. I am all muscle. Muscle, the source of all power! The anatomist can tell Joe much about me of which Joe is but dimly aware. Joe knows by experience that I am generously covered by taste buds and by thousands of nerve ends. If Joe should place two needles tightly together and touch my tip I can discern that there are two! I have many chores to perform for my host. I judge when food is ready to be swallowed; I test the temperature of drinks so Joe’s gullet will not be burned; when Joe gets nervous I wet his lips. Joe takes me pretty much for granted but my work in his service is multitudinous. So much for my anatomical properties.

I am much more than a nerve-packed muscle. I talk! I am directly connected to Joe’s heart from which are the issues of his life. I reveal the thoughts and in­tent of Joe’s heart. I can arouse deep emotions in Joe’s hearers. I can placate a violent man just by speaking. I say, “charge” and a whole army goes forward to battle. And I am above all things most deceitful; I may say, “love” while Joe thinks, “hate” in his heart.

As I said before, I’m quite something! I am a whole world — a world of fire! I am untameable, unlike the great beasts which may be tamed. I am an unruly evil. I defile Joe’s whole body. I set fire to the whole course of Joe’s nature — and it is set on fire from hell! I am full of deadly poison. Whereas a fountain cannot bring forth at the same time both sweet water and bitter, I can. I bless God and curse man made in His similitude. I have been likened to a small helm which can turn a great ship about. Behold me; do you blame me for boasting?

NOW HEAR THIS. Joe has been regen­erated. Joe is now a Christian, and his ethical heart is renewed within him. What a change in my activities! Now I am used to praise God Who has turned Joe about. Now I am used for lofty purposes. Now rivers of waters flow over me from Joe’s sanctified heart to the praise of God and the weal of men. I now sing praises to God in church and in the Society meetings. I keep busy telling Joe’s friends and fellow workers of the grace of God which has turned him from his evil ways.

And, sad to say, I still sometimes say mean things about Joe’s neighbor. I don’t always use my power to speak praise, but speak evil things. I sometimes allow words to pass over me that I should have swal­lowed. But, praised be the Name of God! I, like that prophet of old, have had a coal from God’s Altar placed upon me and have been cleansed! Each night Joe uses me to confess his sins. All is forgiven! How I long for the time when I shall be freed from the pollution and bondage of sin! Then, then I shall whisper in the night. “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.”