Taming the tongue
“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” was a common rhyme that we sung as children growing up. It was meant to ignore and undermine the bully and hurtful words that were often hurled around on the playground. The use of our tongues is a topic that the word of God speaks extensively about, and with good reason. While our words can have long lasting positive effects on others it also has the power for long lasting damage. James effectively points out “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so”
As we interact with others, how aware are we of the power our words can have on those around us. In the book of proverbs we are warned, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” that “The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood.” Certainly we know from experience that it is so easy to blindside, speak down, ridicule, act out, loose control, speak falsely and gossip about others. Certainly we have experienced the negative power of words but also the positive effect words can have. As we look a the life of the Lord Jesus we see he was a master with his words, as he knew exactly how to deal with those he came in contact with. As a young boy he amazed those that he spoke with at the temple. During his public ministry his words confounded, built up, taught, encouraged, gave hope, corrected and illuminated those who he spoke with. On one occasion temple guards were sent to bring him captive to the religious rulers but as they returned empty handed there pronouncement was “Never man spake like this man”.
Let us try to put in practice today what the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Colossae and Ephesus stating; “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man" (Col.4:6) and “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers" (Eph. 4:29).
Dear believer speak like Christ today and be aware that every interaction, every word, every conversation is an outpouring of what is truly in our hearts (Matt.12:34-35) and the more we purify and sanctify our hearts the more our words will have positive effects on others. Peter encourages us “but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15).
As we move about today let our prayer be like the Psalmist “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” (Ps. 141:3)
Kyle Wilson is commended with his wife to full time service in Nicaragua, from the assembly that meets in Carleton Gospel Hall, Vancouver. He is in fellowship in the assembly in El Valle, and has three young children.