James 1:26: “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”
I would occasionally rid a horse when I was growing up and then for about ten years, I didn’t get on one. When I finally did, they guy helping me didn’t get the bit right in the horse’s mouth and half-way through our ride, it came out… I lost control of the horse, the reins had become useless, and was at the horse’s whim. Luckily, it was an old horse, so I didn’t get beat up too much, but it could have been much worse. Likewise, when we lose control of our tongue, it is devastating.
**Newsflash** You don’t need to say everything that runs through your mind! Don’t sing praises to God on Sunday and then talk trash throughout the week. It is interesting to see throughout the week how people talk to one another. Can the folks at the watercooler see you are a follower of Christ by what you say or don’t say?
Ephesians 4:29 encourages: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Some examples of valueless or unwholesome talk include lying, slander, deceit, profanity, and gossip. There is a difference between a gossip and a concerned friend. I have heard gossiping equated to a butcher. Gossip involves hurt, tearing down, ripping apart, for the benefit of the one speaking, not for the one being talked about. However, a concerned friend is more like a skilled surgeon who helps and builds up, all for the patient’s benefit.
Psalm 141:3: “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
If you struggle with keeping a tight rein on your tongue, here are some practical steps to take:
First, pray and ask for wisdom (James 1:5).
Second, speak less. Remember we are to be quick to listen, slow to speak (James 1:19).
Third, you could read James 3 every day.
Four, stay out of situations that you know will set your tongue off.
Finally, run from gossip. And I mean run!
Some questions to consider:
-Where has your lack of control over your tongue gotten you in trouble?
-In what ways do you need to rein in your tongue?
-How does the golden rule (Do unto others…) apply to your speech to and about others?