Tone Up Week 4: The Difference Between Words and Tone

Welcome to Tone Up Week 4! As we reach almost the halfway point of our study, I’m finding that I am DEFINITELY paying a lot more attention to tone. How about you? The other day my youngest daughter Anika was explaining our bean jar to her cousin who was visiting. It was nice to know that she really understood the point, whether or not it always changes her tone.

Here’s the week 3 video where I sum up our discussion on the meditations of our hearts, specifically focusing on how to move something from our head knowledge to our heart belief. (Click over to the blog if you’re reading this in email.)

So, if you haven’t quite followed the pattern, here’s where we are

  1. THOUGHTS, life, scripture, FB, whatever you’re exposed to comes into your HEAD—> TAKE THOUGHTS CAPTIVE.
  2. Decide what you are going to MEDITATE upon because those will become BELIEFS IN YOUR HEART.
  3. Those beliefs will affect the WORDS OVERFLOWING FROM YOUR MOUTH.

But what about TONE? Because I’ve started to wonder if tone and words are really synonymous. I don’t think they are.

This week, as I’ve been focusing on taking my thoughts captive and being careful about what becomes a “meditation of my heart” before it makes it out of my body by way of the words of my mouth I’ve noticed something pretty telling.

For me, all too often, regardless of the WORDS that I say, it’s THE TONE that reflects what I really believe.  That’s why even when I discipline myself to use positive words, my tone reveals that I’m being false or insincere or sarcastic.  My TONE comes from what I believe whereas the WORDS come from my head.  That’s why sometimes there is a disconnect between what I say and the tone that I’m using.

Back when I was teaching English, I used the following humorous illustration to demonstrate why punctuation was important in writing.

dearjohnbadI got to thinking about the spoken words we use and I realized that our tone is really the punctuation of our words.  It conveys the emotion or the message that the words themselves might not carry.

While I’m often telling my kids that they should watch their tone of voice, I guess I consider it my adult privilege to use whatever tone of voice I want because I’m the grown up and they should JUST KNOW what I mean, right?

This week, I want to focus on this disparity to really force us to weed it out, recognizing it for what it is.

As it says in James 3:9-11

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?

I think the common phraseology might be, “You kiss your mother with that mouth?”

Do we want to be modeling a kind of hypocrisy with our kids and our spouses?

We spent last week meditating on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. SO, my goal for the following week is going to use that criteria to describe MY TONE–not just my words. The tone of whatever I say –to EVERYONE–needs to be consistent with that rather than disintegrating into the sarcasm and exasperated biting tone to which I often succumb.

Our Scripture memory for the coming week will be as follows. (If you are not yet using the Spotify playlist, SERIOUSLY, I don’t know what to do for you! It makes it SO EASY.)

Colossians 3:12 & 14A which you can listen to here when you select song 9.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. And above all these put on love.

AND also,

Psalm 89:1, which you can listen to here when you select song 9. (This is a different version than the one on Spotify, BTW.)

I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.

So it comes down to LOVE, of course.  Do my words reflect a heart of love, or am I speaking out of fear, power, insecurity, hurt, or control? Good old 1 Corinthians 13 is still true and is still pretty hard to live up to. If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

We’ll talk about this more on Thursday and in the FB group, which you can still chime into with any observations.