If you are like me, you’ve heard countless sermons on “the tongue”. I contemplated covering this section of James here because the scripture is pretty matter-of-fact and we all “know” the damage that can be unleashed when the tongue is not! But perhaps because this IS such vital teaching, it warrants attention in this quiet little space. And from someone who has teeth marks in her own! J
We have all been hurt.
And hurt people, hurt people.
Some times the uglies that spew from our mouth
are wounds we are licking.
We are all selfish.
And selfish people behave selfishly.
Some times the anger that blows our stack
is really a self displayed temper tantrum in disguise.
We are all sinners.
And sinners sin.
Some times our lies, gossip, slander,
and contempt burn from offense
or our own littleness begging recognition.
There are as many reasons for distastefulness to leave our mouths as there are tasteful morsels to enter.
The truth remains.
It’s our mouth . . . our tongue . . . and we are responsible for what comes out of it.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)
Does the fruit of my mouth bring life or death? Good or evil?
It’s really that simple—isn’t it?
Is my mouths fruit good for eating & beneficial to the body receiving it?
Or is my fruit poison, slowly sucking life from the soul it is dished out to?
“No man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” James 3:8-10
If we cannot tame the tongue, are we truly responsible for what praise or curse comes from it? What are we to do?
Out of the heart, the mouth speaks! (Matthew 12:34)
So what fills your heart?
Self or Spirit?
Sin or repentance?
Anger and offense or kindness and forgiveness?
These ARE our choices!
- We choose to cling to our rights . . . or die to self.
- We choose to continue to walk in known sin . . . or repent and turn away from idols.
- We choose to be angry and offended for what was said or done to us . . . or we lay our anger at the foot of the cross along with all our reasons and excuses and defenses for being “in the right”—and. we. forgive! Fully and completely from the heart; repeatedly if necessary.
My child’s soul does not deserve my harsh words
because I am upset about my situation.
My family member does not deserve my contempt
because I was hurt by something said.
My co-worker does not deserve my attitude
because I feel unjustly treated.
My church body does not deserve my slander
because I don’t agree with decisions.
My neighbor does not deserve my gossip
because I want to be noticed in the juicy tidbit.
My reaction ignites my sin
with perpetuating consequences
that leave a legacy!
“A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.”
James 3:5, 6 (The Message)
Click here for Part 2 of what our mouths, hearts and treasures have in common