Scripture: James 3:1-12
Each one of us has the most dangerous earthly weapon. It has the capability of destroying our character and the ability to be fruitful in our Christian witness.
It is our tongue. The church should be a place where words do not hurt others but build them up as a child of God.
Our tongue should be an instrument of peace, joy, and reconciliation, not a tool of disaster or discourse.
There is no one in the world that has not sinned because of the slip of their tongue. James echoes those words when he shares with us that the tongue can become a deadly weapon. We do not slip up intentionally, but the scriptures are full of situations about this deadly sin. Paul says, “There is none righteous for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of the heavenly father. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” In Ecclesiastics 7:20 we see these words: “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”
There is no sin into which easier to slip into that does not have grave consequences when we slip up with our tongues. James 3:7-8 includes these words: “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: 8But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”
The psalmist penned these words:
“Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!”
Man’s ingenuity has tamed every wild beast, but the tongue alone is beyond taming. To tame means to control, and to render useful and beautiful our exchanges with one another. We all know too well that there is a cleavage in our human nature:
- something of the ape and something of the angel
- something of the hero and something of the villain
- something of the saint and something of the sinner
James is sure this villain is a man’s tongue, for we can change our temperament in a split second when we open our mouth before we bridle the tongue. The weakest person can bridle a large horse, but it takes a giant of a person to bridle their tongue. While our tongues are free to speak praises and adorations, one can destroy their character in the split second if they don't bridle their tongue.
Once it is uttered, one can not take it back, and one must live with the results of that slip of the tongue. Even when we seek to make amends for our actions, we can not forget that action and it is here that the devil takes a molehill and blows it into a mountain.
I heard a preacher on TV say that when the Lord called him to preach, he had not sinned since that day. His tongue proved otherwise!
Lord God, help us not to slip into sin because of a slip of a tongue. All of us have sinned through this small mouthful of tissue when we lose control of our emotions and feelings. Help us Lord to bridle our tongues. In Jesus' name we make this request. Amen!