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August 27, 2015

Text:  “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

As family lore goes, I could talk before I learned to walk. Due to this circumstance my mother told me, “Talking will be the death of you!” James, the brother of Jesus had some very revealing things to relate about the tongue. “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and is tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:7-8  If we are honest with ourselves we will fully agree with this scripture. Our tongues outrace our brains. We say a lot of things that we mean, but we also say things before we have stopped to think. Or we get angry and go on a tirade. And there are times we pop off with sarcasm. Some persons seem to understand the importance of inoffensive language at an early age; for others it may take a lifetime.

The tongue needs constant vigilance. Minding your words is a valuable habit if you want peace and friendship. Careless speech can bring hurt, alienation, libel, heartbreak, even violence. Most all of this can be limited if we take time to think before we speak.  Friendship is far too precious to alienate our friends and associates.  But don’t assume that you can rant on your family because they have to live with you. Richard Nixon was right on when he said,  “When the situation gets hot, keep the rhetoric cool.”  “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear,  slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  James 1:19-20

Everyone needs to learn to “bite his tongue”. (That is a figure of speech.)  Just before you start to “spout off”, consider what results your words might bring forth. Ask yourself some questions. Is it true? Is it fair? Am I bringing this up to embarrass someone? Am I bringing this up to “get a rise” out of someone? Is this subject provocative? Is this even pertinent to the conversation? Is this likely to do more harm than good?  Here are some more questions. Is this constructive? Will it cause someone to do right rather than wrong? Will this foster good relations?  Here are some words of wisdom David wrote in a Psalm. “I said, “‘I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence.'” Psalms 39:1

It is very significant that James wrote that the tongue is “full of deadly poison”.  Why, we hardly think of the tongue except when we taste something. And it would be difficult to try to speak without a tongue which is the key to proper pronunciation. But consider this phrase may mean here two things. Does James mean that the tongue may be so harmful that one might be sent to Hell because of his speech?  Remember that Jesus said, “…for by your words you will be justified, and by your words  you will be condemned.” Matthew 10:37  Or, does it mean that your words might decimate your relations with family, friends, or acquaintances?  How many families do you know whose members don’t speak to one another because of something being said that didn’t make a hill of beans? Case made!

Remember the words of an old hymn.

“Angry words! Oh let them never, from the tongue unbridled slip. May the heart’s best impulse ever,  check the ere they soil the lip.”






One Comment
  1. Larry permalink

    So practical and down to earth. Now if I could only always remember.

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