Matthew 5:14

You are the light of the world. A City on a Hill cannot be hidden. ~Matthew 5:14~

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Taming the Tongue

Our tongues can be used for good or for evil. Even though it is a small part of the body, our human frailty and our tendency to sin can make it impossible to completely tame.  I believe David was aware of this when he prayed: "May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer."
Psalm 19:14

The book of James gives us a few examples of the power of the tongue:

"When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.  Or take ships as an example.  Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants  to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.  Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.  It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." 
James 3:3-6    

  "All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."  James 3:7-8

The book of Proverbs has many references to the tongue, and to the power of our words:

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.  Proverbs 21:23

The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives.  Proverbs 18:7
   The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
   but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
   Truthful lips endure forever, 
   but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. Proverbs 12:18-19

  The LORD detests lying lips,   but he delights in people who are trustworthy.  Proverbs 12:22

  Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,   but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.  Proverbs 13:3

  The soothing tongue is a tree of life,   but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.   Proverbs 15:4

  Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,   and discerning if they hold their tongues.   Proverbs 17:28

  A lying tongue hates those it hurts,   and a flattering mouth works ruin.   Proverbs 26:28

Psalm 34:12

James and Proverbs are not the only books in the Bible to speak about the power of the tongue.

Psalm 34:13
keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.
Psalm 50:19
You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit.
Psalm 52:2
You who practice deceit, your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor.
Jeremiah 9:5
Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning.

There are so many more verses that speak of the power of our words...and the problems our tongues can cause.  This brings us right back to James 3:9-10

 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

What then is the key to controlling our tongues? It all comes down to what you have inside. James goes on to explain that there are two kinds of wisdom. One is earthly and one is from heaven.  If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts you will find disorder and every evil practice.  What's inside will come out.  

 Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20These are what defile a person...(Matthew 15)

The wisdom that comes from heaven is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18

                 May we all strive to have a mouth that shows us to be:

What does your tongue reveal about YOU?

Thanks for stopping by-
Have a great week!


  1. The verse that helps me is:...."swift to hear (listen), SLOW to SPEAK, slow to wrath" James 1:19

  2. Ah, yes...that is a good one too!
    Thanks for your comment! I see you follow my daughter's blog too, Live,Laugh,Love.

  3. hmm seems I read this when you posted it and it didn't stick...ugh! Now my blog is on the same topic and I didn't even realize it until I just checked in now to see if you've posted more since! Mom seems the Lord may be working on both our hearts simultaneously, with the same topic!
    Love you!

  4. Great post Sharon! Love how you tie it all together. “Tongued tied”...I guess :o) I’ve heard it said, that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body.


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