How many times have I wished I had not said something, or thought before I spoke it? Too many times to count, sadly. How many times has my mouth stirred up trouble and caused problems? Again, more times than I like to admit. This is an age-old problem that has plagued us and has not gone away with time. It was an issue with the early church and it is still an issue with us today.
I think it can be especially hard on those of us who were raised with very strong opinions on what is right and holy before the Lord. Many of us were taught to be articulate and be able to very plainly speak and express our feeling and opinions. If we are not careful with how we present ourselves and opinions however, we can do more damage than good and tear down rather than build up.
The following is perhaps the premier passage in Scripture on the tongue. I offer it for your contemplation today. No matter how many times I’ve read these verses, I am always convicted afresh as read.
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
3 Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
James 3:1-12 (KJV)
(To be continued….)