There is probably nothing that has gotten most of us in more trouble than our tongues. Have you ever wished you could take something back after you have said it? I can imagine your heading nodding into agreement as you read that question. As I’m pretty sure, we have all been there and done that. I know thatI have often experienced the shame and regret of having spoken too soon before I could stop myself. I have put my mouth in gear before I engaged my brain.
Someone has said that the tongue weighs practically nothings and yet so few people can hold it! It’s sort of like a tombstone in an English country churchyard that read: “Beneath this stone, a lump of clay, Lies Arabella Young, Who, on the 24th day of May, began to hold her tongue.” Let’s face it, we all know folks who cannot hold their tongue. Whatever comes into their minds, comes out of their mouths. Unfortunately too often that person is us!
In the Epistle text for this Sunday from James 3, James says that though the tongue is small, it has great influence and power over the rest of the body. Our tongue can be very destructive. As a Pastor, I’ve often encountered folks for whom their tongues were very destructive even toward themselves. So in the reading from James 3 this week, James goes to great length to tell us why we need to make sure that we don’t let our tongues bite us or anyone else.
Of course, this requires that we learn to manage our tongues. While these are not the three points from the sermon this Sunday, I think they can help us understand some simple ways that we can practice managing our tongues.
1. We need to practice letting the words from our tongues bless rather than blast or burn other human beings.
2. We need to practice using our tongue in praise of God rather than to poison our own lives and that of others.
3. As people of faith, we need to practice making our tongues voices through which Christ speaks words of encouragement to others rather than curse them (using put downs that harms others self-esteem.)
The bottom line is simple, “Don’t Let Your Tongue Bite You!” or anyone else. Use it for the Glory of God!
Join us this week for Back to Church Sunday. The sermon will be “Don’t Let Your Tongue Bite You!” The scriptural text is James 3:1-12.