Troubles with Our Tongues
Read James 3:9-11
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
Take time to examine your speech. Do you have control over your own tongue?
In high school, I worked as a nursing assistant at a nursing home. One day, I was talking with a coworker about a Christian concert that had been hit by a storm the night before, and the stage collapsed. I remember her saying, “Well if anyone deserves it, it’s those people. It was probably God smiting them. He probably laughed and said, ‘Serves you right, hypocrites!’”
I remember being shocked. I asked why she felt that way. She said Christians are always talking about how much they love God and about what they believe is right or wrong, but then they go around talking about people behind their backs and acting better than everyone else. She said they call other people sinners but then turn around and sin with their very own mouths.
Friends, this should not be. And yet, I know I am not innocent of gossip or slander. We are Christians, but we are still works in progress. We aren’t yet perfect, as He is perfect. Still, we should carefully examine ourselves in this area and ask for the Holy Spirit to help us control our tongues.
The fact is, our lack of control over our tongues can destroy our witness for Christ (along with destroying others). If you call yourself a Christian but do not talk about others or to others with love, you are marring the reputation of Christ followers everywhere. Worse, you are speaking against someone that God made in His image and dearly loves. How can we call God good but the ones He made bad? How can we say we love God but speak hatefully about our brothers and sisters?
I often hear Christians say they are just speaking out against sin and calling it wrong. But I see hateful speech displayed all over their social media. It seems to me that their methodology is wrong. The Bible never says to condone or accept sin. It also never says to attack sinners with your words. Hating sin is not wrong. Speaking hatefully to others or about others is.
Today, surrender your tongue to God. You cannot control it. Thankfully, God can.
Father, I know that I have sinned against You by speaking against a person made in Your image. Please forgive me. Help me learn to be careful with my words and to speak in Your love. Amen.