I don’t know about you, but I sure am grateful to have a tongue. Think about it. A tongue helps us speak, swallow – and probably most noticeably and to some the most important – it allows us to taste. Praise the Lord for taste buds, eh? But lately, I’ve been convicted with the sharp magnitude of the tongue’s danger.
There’s a pretty familiar section in James (3:1-12) that compares our tongues with bridles on horses or rudders on ships. Small parts – but a powerful part that controls the direction of the entire vessel. James also says that both fresh water and salt water can’t come out of the same stream; so too blessing and cursing can’t come out of the same mouth.
But, the warning regarding the danger of the tongue isn’t just limited to James chapter 3. Here are some verses that have convicted me the last couple of months regarding my speech, my tongue, and how I am using it:
“The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; the one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” – Proverbs 13:3
“He who restrains his words has knowledge . . .” – Proverbs 17:27
“He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.” – Proverbs 21:23
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment.” – Ephesians 4:29
“Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and greed, which amounts to idolatry . . . in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, malice, slander and abusive speech from your mouth.” – Colossians 3:5, 7-8
Unfortunately, the Lord doesn’t rank or categorize sin. No one sin is worse than another – all are equally disgusting in the sight of the Lord. The sin of gossip is often listed right alongside sexual immorality and murder. It’s easy for us to talk about others . . . to share what we heard, what we saw, what we experienced. And, if we honestly look at ourselves, we kind of like it when we’re in it, don’t we? Sin unfortunately looks fun and harmless sometimes – but consider the power held in your words. Are your words glorifying to the Lord? Would you say those words with Jesus there? (And as a believer, He’s always with you, so. . .) Would you say what you want to say about that person in front of that person?
I think our moms were on to something when they told us, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”