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How to Swallow… Your Words

5575012949_846043e14f_zI have an aversion to swallowing. When I was a kid, I feared taking pill-shaped medicine because once, a pill got stuck in the back of my mouth and began to dissolve. It was so bitter, that I cried, hopped around, and almost gagged to death. After that, I preferred to take medicine in liquid form (before flavors were available). In fact, I was so afraid of swallowing pills, that I was impressed when I saw my dad take aspirin by simply throwing his head back. He didn’t even need water!

I am now in my late 30’s, and I still have an aversion to swallowing, but now I find it hard to swallow words. Words that I want to say and shouldn’t like “I told you so” are hard for me to swallow. Even when I’m right and know pointing out that fact will make the other person feel small or hurt, I feel compelled to say it in some way. Most of the time, I know I should not remind the person that I was right, but something in me closes my throat so that I have to spit those unproductive words out.

Here are 5 of the many instructions Our Creator gave us on how we should govern our words:

  1. Don’t speak without thinking.“Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him” (Proverbs 29:20).
  2. Don’t say meaningless things. “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36).
  3. Don’t say hurtful things. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).
  4. Just don’t say it. “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction” (Proverbs 13:3).
  5. Stop fronting. “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26).

I struggle with all the above instructions, but I recently swallowed an “I told you so” pill and shared some reassurance instead. There was no argument, no tension, and no regret for words spoken. I even felt better, and I believe the other person did too. Will I still struggle with swallowing words I truly want to say? Of course. But now I know I won’t gag to death when I do.

Speaking Life,



Published inChristian Communication 101Ladies Love Lists


  1. Wonderful reminders of how to watch our tongue. Thank you Cicely for helping us remember to watch what we say.

  2. Mildred Jenkins Mildred Jenkins

    Oh my those 4 little words “I told you so” is so hard for me to hold back sometimes especially when I’m right and the other person thinks they’re always right. “Especially at work!” But those words of wisdom (that I have already read before) surely encouraged me to swallow my pride (I can do this). It’s just hard to do at work sometimes. Thanks Lady Di for sharing.

  3. This was a very good post. I like that you put a positive spin on the, “I told you so” by offering reassurance. People need us to be a place of safety when they have to share embarrassing things. When a person already knows what they did, we don’t have to add to it. On a final note, as educators we must be very responsible with our words because we are called to communicate life and light to others. The last thing we should do is speak death and darkness. This mouth thing is a work in progress!

  4. Cicely Cicely

    Thanks, Ladies, for your feedback. I am glad to know I am not alone in the struggle. Thanks, DiAnne for allowing me to share.

  5. Cicely,
    Just today, someone at church stopped me and told me the had to read your post AGAIN this morning. I should have this one slammed on every hard surface of my house. Thank you for letting us know it’s better to swallow sometimes; otherwise, we won’t be able to pull back what we let out.

  6. Carmen Gregory Carmen Gregory

    I think Iwill post those scriptures. Thank you for sharing. Swallowing my words will also help me to be a better listener, because I’m always ready for what to say next.

  7. Phyllis Martin Phyllis Martin

    thank you i needed to read this, asking God to guard that meat between my lips

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