When my mom’s mom was 15 years old, the German community where she lived was having a dance. My Grandma was so excited. She planned and prepared for days. The day of the dance came. She dressed in her best dress and spent hours fixing her hair just right. Everyone in town was there. A wonderful evening of fun and dancing made her feel like a princess…that is until she came home, and her father said to her, “You were the ugliest one at the dance!” I can’t comprehend any father saying that to his daughter. Until my Grandma’s dying day she believed in her heart that she was ugly! This picture on her wedding day proves otherwise!!
The words that come out of our mouth matter…a lot! The Bible says,
Proverbs 18:21 (NLT) The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
James describes how important it is for us to learn to control our tongue. He writes,
James 3:2b, 7-10 (NLT) For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way…People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!
Matthew 15:11, 18 (NLT) “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth…the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you.
I remember kids saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me!” Each of us learned how false this was.
My mom would tell me, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all!”
Here are some additional wise sayings about keep our tongue in check:
- It’s better to bite your tongue than eat your words.
- Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.
- If you speak when you’re angry you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret!
- If you give them a piece of your mind, are you sure you can afford it?
- A sharp tongue and a dull mind are usually found in the same head!
- It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt!
13 SINS OF THE TONGUE—Which of these give you the most trouble?
Numbers 11:1a (NLT) Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said. Then the Lord’s anger blazed against them…
Job 14:19 (NLT) as water wears away the stones and floods wash away the soil, so you destroy people’s hope.
Proverbs 10:18 (NLT) Hiding hatred makes you a liar; slandering others makes you a fool.
Proverbs 16:28 (NLT) A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.
Romans 3:13–14 (NLT) “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
Colossians 3:8 (NLT) But now is the time to get rid of… dirty language.
Proverbs 26:28 (NLT) A lying tongue hates its victims, and flattering words cause ruin.
Proverbs 27:15 (NKJV) A continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike;
Proverbs 12:22 (NLT) The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.
Ephesians 5:4 (NLT) Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.
Psalm 101:5 (NLT) I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure conceit and pride.
Proverbs 15:1 (NLT) A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
Taking God’s name in vain
Exodus 20:7 (ESV) “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”
7 THINGS GOD HATES…Notice that several of these involve our words.
Proverbs 6:16–19 (NLT) There are six things the Lord hates— no, seven things he detests:
- haughty eyes,
- a lying tongue,
- hands that kill the innocent,
- a heart that plots evil,
- feet that race to do wrong,
- a false witness who pours out lies,
- a person who sows discord in a family.
HOW TO TAME THE TONGUE. Here are five Scriptures that give us instruction for taming the tongue:
1) BE QUICK TO LISTEN, SLOW TO SPEAK!
James 1:19b (NLT) You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
2) MAKE SURE YOUR SPEECH IS SEASONED WITH SALT
Colossians 4:6 (NIV84) Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
3) USE GENTLE WORDS THAT GIVE LIFE
Proverbs 15:4 (NLT) Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
4) YOUR WORDS SHOULD PROVIDE NECESSARY EDIFICATION AND IMPART GRACE
Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV) Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
5) YOU MUST SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE
Ephesians 4:15 (NLT) Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
We who claim to follow Christ should have the most control of our tongue. Our words should be like this:
Proverbs 25:11 (ESV) A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
Onward in His control,