Taming the tongue Proverbs 13:3

We have probably all heard the saying actions can speak louder than our words, but we still need to focus on what comes out of our mouths. The tongue is very powerful.

James 3:1-12 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

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.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Lot’s of words are exchanged, and are more so able to be exchanged in the age that we live in, because of the technology that we have available to us. Ways that we communicate are…talking face to face, talking on the phone, texting, writing letters, tweeting, blogging, Facebook, instant messaging, e-mail, ect.

I think it’s so much easier for most people to be brave in their communication when they don’t have to speak face to face with someone. And I don’t mean just directly speaking to a certain person. Words on social media sites can be spoken to a person or group of people indirectly without anyone specific knowing that the words are aimed toward them. I think this is a seemingly safe way for people to vent without having to take full responsibility for their words. If confronted, they can brush it off as if it were some generic rant, and not have to be held accountable for their real feelings.

But Matthew 12:34-37 says, Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  

I pray that I am justified and not condemned by my words. 

For me, it’s the opposite of the people who speak more boldly on their devices. I actually want to see your face when it’s an important conversation. I want you to see my face, and hear the tone of my voice. And I want to hear yours. It’s because that is what is real. And for me, I don’t like any kind of confrontation. Although I’m learning what good confrontation is. But I’m no angel. I’ve had my weak moments, and I hope that I’ve reconciled anything wrong that I have said. Maturity as a Christian changes how we handle situations and people through our lives.  But I do always want to get to the bottom of an offense or dispute with anyone. I like to feel the situation out, and then know when it seems like we need to keep fixing the issue at hand. So that’s me; it’s how I have always been.

But we all communicate differently. I’m quite certain that I communicate far from perfectly. And in my imperfection, I’m not even sure how communication sounds perfected; except that God is love, and because of His love and in love, His communication is perfect. And Proverbs 13:3 says, Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. This tells me to think before I speak, and  to be slow to speak. And whether we are talking directly or indirectly to someone, we should always remember who we represent (Jesus). Because it doesn’t matter who knows, doesn’t know, hears our words or not. He does; He hears everything; and knows every intent of our hearts. He knows if we mean what we say or not; and He knows everything that we communicate and everything that we keep inside. He knows us better than we do. We can even lie to ourselves, but we cannot lie to God.

So let’s think about the words that come directly out of our mouths. Let’s think about the words that we type or write using any kind of device. Would we say it if we were face to face with the person that it is intended for? Are we representing Jesus well with the things that we choose to talk about; with the things that we type-talk about? 

Imagine you are face to face with someone who you hold in the highest regard. You have to say to them things that you talk about in private or on a device. Would they be proud of who you are or disappointed? If you were face to face with Jesus and you had to tell him those same things? Would He say that you have represented Him well? Or would He say that you have misrepresented and caused more harm to other people and to His Kingdom?

Whatever comes out of your mouth, think first; are you speaking life or death, and will it honor and glorify Jesus?

Lord, it is my biggest desire to bring honor to Your name. I don’t want to make you look bad, I want to draw people to you by showing them who you are, not misguiding them with negativity that comes out of me sometimes. I don’t want to misrepresent You and who we as Christians should be. Please help me to think more positively and speak positively. Quicken me to hold my tongue when I just want to spill negativity out. Help me to not complain, but be thankful for all that You are in my life. Soften my heart to give grace to those who rub me harshly. Help me to grow from these people and from rough situations. And please help me to start today, with each temptation of misusing my tongue to use it for life instead of death. Lord, it may be hard, but I know that you will give me strength to make the right choice. Thankyou for your grace in my life, Jesus. Amen

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