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Poem: In the Absence of Kinder Words

Sometimes poetry is able to capture our sentiments better than long explanations. I hope this poem reaches you in this way.

Who can Tame the Tongue?


In the absence of kinder words

harsher ones remain.

Tongues that could bring healing

instead, bring only pain.

My vision grows myopic

seeing only wounds I've felt.

I pay back double every blow,

each insult I've been dealt.

I must because if I do not

all would think I'm weak.

If that becomes the thought they think

imagine what they'll speak!

Concerns about concerns over words

said carelessly...

Why do I care so much about what others

say of me?

Reproach upon reproach

builds a wall I must surmount.

The odds of which decrease

with each considered count.

Now I'm working to ignore

slander's slippery slope,

finding peace and charity

better ways to cope.

It means I have discovered

a higher way to seek,

my vindication found

when I turn the other cheek.

It does not mean I cannot speak truth

so long as done in love,

just that I am justified

by Justice from above.

Now let the tongues of men tell tales,

let them all wag free.

They may influence other minds

but they cannot harm me.

I move forward past the corpses

that so many lies have slain

by those who set kind words aside

while harsher ones remain.

Turning the Other Cheek

If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

— Matthew 5:39

What Does it Mean to "Turn the Other Cheek?"

The phrase "turn the other cheek" is a Middle Eastern colloquialism that means we should not trade insult for insult. It is NOT a commentary forbidding self-defense as some pacifistic interpretations have rendered it. This text is more in keeping with the principle found in Romans 12:17 where Paul exhorts the Roman church not to "repay evil for evil, being careful to do what is right."

There are many verses in the Bible that discourage trading insults, arguing, gossip, etc. I am including a brief list below should you wish to conduct your own study on this subject.

Thanks for reading!

Bible Verses About Arguing

Job 16:3

Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing?


Philippians 2:14

Do everything without grumbling or arguing.


James 4:1-3

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.


© 2018 Leland Johnson

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