An Untamed Tongue
(James 3:7-8 KJV) For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
It is shocking to think that everything in the world is tamable except the tongue. To make things even worse our text says that the tongue is “unruly, evil and full of deadly poison”.
In other words the tongue lies dormant like a poisonous snake until provoked and then it strikes with deadly venom. An unruly tongue strikes instinctively (like a snake) and not from a carefully thought out plan.
Jesus said “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”(Matthew 12:34)
The Apostle James goes on to say, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” (James 3:6)
Over the years I have come to realize that our text was saying a lot more than I originally thought. I also discovered that I was not nearly as holy and perfect as I thought I was ether, even though I was pretty good at obeying what I believed to be the dos and don’ts of the Bible.
Those disciplines are very important and one should strive to walk righteously before the Lord doing as the Apostle Paul suggests by buffeting one’s body. However, obeying the dos and don’ts actually have more to do with the outside of a man than it does the inside of a man.
Perhaps that is why Paul said in Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” In other words, one’s outside discipline is only the first step in living righteously before the Lord. The second step is a daily renewing of his mind which is the outworking of the first step.
Okay, I think I understand all of that but what about the tongue…the tongue…what am I going to do about the tongue? All of my good works of trying to obey the dos and don’ts of the Bible are fine, but without bridling my tongue it is all for naught. Every time I think I have my tongue bridled I relax a little and it is loose again.
A couple of days ago after seeing the hand of God move powerfully in one of my services my tongue broke out of the bridle again and I spoke unkindly to a man. This man was not in my church service but he was doing some service for me back home.
I should have not only shown him mercy because I had that right but one should always show mercy to those under his authority.
After thinking about what I said and somehow trying to justify it I realized it was not necessarily what I said that was wrong but how I said it. A person with a strong personality has the ability to say something in a soft spoken way that can be as venomous as a poisons snake. Being kind when one is killing someone with their tongue does not count.
I have come to realize that one cannot tame the tongue…they can only dedicate it to the Lord and fill themselves to overflowing with His word and His presence. His presence is what disconnects the tongue from its poisonous roots and turns it into a tongue of praise.
I want to live a life of ‘tongue dedication’. I want to be a better man and a better example to those who look to me. My desire is that my tongue be bridled tightly except when it comes to praising You. I give You all praise and honor and glory.Amen