Growing up I was never a student of the Bible even though I grew up surrounded by the best kind of Christians there were: the love-filled family kind. I am now being constantly moved by the Holy Spirit, I hope, to see the simplicity in the scripture I now study. As such, I am finding myself gravitating to ministers, pastors and saints as they dissect in sermon and prayer the incredible power of the tongue; yes, that small but dangerously lethal weapon housed in one’s mouth.
Without any biblical perspective, history confirms the ability of deceit-filled eloquence to entice weak men to murder, married women to stray, prideful men to war and so-called peace-loving folk to slaughter. On a daily basis, a reckless tongue can sear forever the spirit of an innocent child, a wanting spouse, a true friend or a caring co-worker. Evil oratory moves men and women to do evil things.
But, oh, how powerful, how wonderful is a well-intentioned “thank you,” a sincere “I’m sorry” or a genuine “I believe in you”? James 3:10 tells us that the tongue wields the power of life and death. Having been the target of ill-intended criticism and, out of momentary anger or hurt, having tried to destroy the souls of many I held dear, I know first-hand that James is so right.
I have been trying to correct this character flaw by being as deliberately uplifting as possible, thinking of myself as a vessel of the living God first before I speak and remembering that man was made in God’s own image and cursing any man is tantamount to cursing God.
Could it be that James 1:26 holds a key to salvation? “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” If you compare the words of Jesus Christ to any demagogue, you will find that Jesus’ words repulse with great power all hatred, gossip, rumor and even innuendo. It is impossible to claim to love God without loving Jesus as the living Word of God. Saying so merely confirms the truth in this case that the spoken Word will indeed set one free.
“Reckless words pierce like a sword but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:14.
I’m told God hates a liar and loves the truth. Remember there is no cure for hurt feelings except an honest spoken apology. Hurt feelings fester and infect a person. Think before you speak. And please don’t take my word for it. “He who guards his lips, guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 12:3.