James 3:7-8: “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
Finish this sentence: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will _________.”
If you said, “never hurt me,” not only are you older than a teenager, but you’ve been lied to. And you know it. Words do hurt. We all have friends or family that has something to us that hurt us deeply. Even sarcasm is said to be death by a thousand cuts.
We need to learn how to control our tongue. But wait, the text says, “no human being can tame the tongue.” So what’s the point of trying?
Should we just take a life-long vow of silence? Not at all. This would be like keeping a horse in the barn or a ship docked in the harbor. The tongue not only has the power to destroy, but to bring life (more on that later).
Notice it says no “human being” can tame the tongue, but what man can’t do, God can! Daily yield your tongue to the power of the Holy Spirit.
There are many outworking’s of an untamed tongue: Gossip, putting down others, bragging, manipulating, false teaching, exaggeration, complaining, flattery, and lying.
Morgan Blake, a writer with The Atlanta Journal, said, “I am more deadly than the screaming shell from the howitzer. I win without killing. I tear down homes, break hearts, and wreck lives. I travel on the wings of the wind. No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me. I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless. My victims are as numerous as the sands of the sea, and often as innocent. I never forget and seldom forgive. My name is Gossip.”
Dr. Tony Evans adds, “Anyone who will gossip to you will gossip about you.”
The Bible concludes, “Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down” (Proverbs 26:20).
The tongue has the power to destroy. But, we have the power to yield our language to a power greater than the bit in a horse’s mouth, the rudder on a large ship, or the spark that starts a fire. Choose wisely.
Some questions to consider:
-When was the last time you were a gossip? Who do you need to apologize to? Who do you need to confess to?
-What are some practical ways to avoid being a gossip or slanderer?-How have you seen your language destroy others?