Do you realize you are full of poison? I am afraid the diagnosis for you and me isn’t good.
You might be more than a little nervous when you read this. What is this poison?
Listen to what the Holy Spirit inspired James to write about this poison: “The tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by Hell . . . But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.” James 3:5-8.
That is pretty blunt. The 2-ounce muscle in our mouth is deadly it is our problem. So deadly can the tongue be that Jesus issued one of the sternest warnings in all of the New Testament concerning its use: “And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36.
Sobering, isn’t it? To think the things we said just yesterday are heard by God and evaluated.
I am grateful God’s Word tells us how to use our tongue for good as opposed to careless use. Using our tongue for good instead of evil is not something we do automatically. We have to train ourselves by breaking bad habits and choosing the path of wise speech. Here are some healthy uses of our tongue taken from the book of Proverbs.
• “The lips of the wise spread knowledge.” Prov. 15:7.
Choose not to slander, gossip, or belittle; choose to speak truth. How do we restrain our lips? By forcing ourselves to answer these four specific questions before unleashing our tongues: Is it true? Is it confidential? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
• “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Prov. 16:24.
Another way to honor the Lord with our lips is to spread encouragement. We underestimate the power of encouragement. One author is right when he says, “Encouragement is awesome! It has the power to change another person’s day, month, even life.” Speak that which builds up, not what tears down.
• “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Prov. 15:1.
Work hard to pause before you answer or respond to another person. Choose a gentle response, as this will build your relationships and honor God.
My friends, let’s choose to be those who speak words of blessing, and not poison.
May God richly bless each of you.