One Sunday morning an elder entered the bathroom just prior to the start of the service. Once in the room, he fell onto the tile floor and hit so hard it made a loud noise. It obviously hurt, frustrated, and embarrassed him. His immediate response was to utter something I’m sure he wished he hadn’t said. The result of this “slip of the tongue” caused even more embarrassment, and we who heard it were embarrassed for him.
In one way or another, we can all relate to the evils of the tongue. James 3:5-8: describes it this way, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things…And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity…it defileth the whole body…The tongue…is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” Even David, the man after God’s own heart, struggled to control his tongue. But he didn’t rationalize, excuse, or ignore his sins of the tongue. Instead, his mindset was recorded in Psalm 17:3b: “…I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.”
The Scriptures give us ample reason to guard our speech. Solomon counseled: “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles” (Proverbs 21:23). I Peter 3:10 states, “…He that will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” So, we should be motivated by self-preservation to want our tongue controlled. But there are also important spiritual reasons. James tells us it is a matter of testimony: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26). James is saying there is emptiness in one’s testimony when the walk doesn’t match the spiritual talk. It doesn’t matter how rough a background we came out of, or for how many years filthy talk was a habit of life. When we know Christ, He impresses our heart to cooperate with Him to clean up the content of our speech. With this very thing in mind, the Apostle Paul writes, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying…” (Ephesians 4:29).
Today, let’s take this matter seriously. As David, let’s purpose not to sin with our lips and pray as he did, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).
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