TIPS FOR THE TONGUE
“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.” (James 3:5)
In our daily routine, we don’t usually give the tongue much thought. Yet, mothers, teachers, philosophers, and the Bible have a lot to say about it. Obviously, because we need on going reminders about its powerful presence in our lives. In addition to helping us process the things we ingest to help our bodies to be healthy, the tongue is essential for speaking (a primary form of communication). And it is in our speech where the tongue provides it’s most effective and most destructive work.
God hates a lying tongue (Prov. 6:17). God’s word is truth (John 17:17) and God does not lie (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18). I cannot think of anything more foreign to God and His nature than a lie. Thus, as we work to be more like Him each day of our lives, we must control our tongue so that we do not lie. All liars will suffer the second death, just as sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters, et al. (Rev. 21:8).
The tongue in a righteous man is like choice silver (Prov. 10:20). It is precious. Unlike the heart of the wicked that is of little worth. In speaking words of love, encouragement, appreciation, praise, etc., we can change the world, one person at a time (Matt. 5:44; Rom. 12:14). The old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is itself a lie. Words can be very destructive and do great damage that may never be repaired.
A fool’s mouth is his ruin (Prov. 18:6-8). His lips and mouth walk into a fight and invite a beating. His mouth becomes a trap for his soul. Gossip is like delicious food, but once it is digested it causes moral indigestion. “If you don’t have anything nice (helpful) to say, say nothing at all,” is sage counsel. “It is better to be thought a fool and remain silent, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
A gentle (wholesome) tongue is a tree of life (Prov. 15:4). A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Prov. 15:1). For many of us, one of the hardest lessons of life is learning to know what to say, when to say it and how to say it. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Prov. 25:11). Perverseness in the tongue breaks (crushes) the spirit. We can prevent or fix so much of the world’s destruction by proper training and use of our tongues.
The tongue can ignite a big fire (James 3:5-6). We can tame wild animals, but we can’t control our own tongues. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in His likeness (James 3:9-10). These things ought not be so!
The power of our tongue, whether for good or for evil, lies within each of us. “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin” (Prov. 13:3).