Godly Talk – Words Matter

Godly Talk – Words Matter

Godly Talk – Words Matter. Thoughts on Taming the Tongue, from James 3:1-12.

“If we are able to bridle the words we say, we are powerful enough to control ourselves in every way, and that means our character is mature and fully developed.”  (James 3:2, Passion Translation).

Small things can wield amazing power. If you want to guide a huge horse, all it takes is a little bit and bridle. If you want to direct a big boat, just use a little rudder. If you want to master self-control, learn to tame the tiny tongue. Learning to control one’s speech enables that person to develop self-control in every other way. If you win the victory of taming the tongue, the rest of your impulses will be much easier, for the tongue is the most difficult to control. In fact, control of one’s words is the most difficult aspect of character development. Only fully mature people can consistently discern the right words to say, and the right spirit with which to say them.

  1. The tongue is a restless flame. Words can ignite a raging forest fire that burns out of control and does irreparable damage. And words can also use this same flame to helpfully light a candle in a dark room. Some fires cannot be snuffed out easily if at all. Candlelight or forest fire, it all depends on how the tongue is used. Words are powerful.
  2. The tongue is a tiny muscle with superpowers. It can do vast harm or extreme good. Words can destroy a reputation (one’s own or someone else’s); heal a grievous wound; lead people astray; speak the truth; utter lies and deceit; mend a broken heart; permanently inflict a wound; bless God and others; curse God and others. The tongue is small but is muscle-bound, and can do mighty things for good or ill.
  3. The tongue is a hungry snake, able to spit out poison. The snake in the mouth needs to be starved of all that keeps it alive. Deceit, selfishness, unforgiveness, dishonesty, bitterness, hostility… all those words feed the snake. Starve the snake with words of goodness, truth and compassion, and the poisonous words will cease. When the snake is dead of starvation, your words will be pure.
  4. The tongue is a wild animal. It can be unpredictable when not tamed, and it can cause significant damage when not under control. When tamed, the tongue can be more like a household pet, loved by everyone, obedient to the master’s commands, a helpful servant of the master. When we learn to tame its wildness, the tongue will be predictable in how it is used.
  5. The tongue is a spotless mirror that reflects human nature. We are made in God’s image, and our words can be noble and wise. We are also, though, still carrying the vestiges of our fallen nature, and so our words can be deceitful and foolish. The further we are in the process of sanctification, the purer our words become. Our words reflect our progress on the path to spiritual maturity.
  6. The mouth is a one-way door, and the only direction is outward. Once a word escapes your lips, you can never take those words back in. Spoken words escape the mouth and are out there in the air and will either bring harm or healing, deceit or truth. The door of the mouth locks from the inside. If the words are wounding, they can cripple. If the words are life-giving, they can lead to flourishing. Words bring life to another’s spirit, or words can being death to that spirit.

“The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.”  (Proverbs 15:28; MSG).

 

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