“For every creature– animal or bird, reptile or fish–is tamed and has been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who are made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things should not be this way.” James 3:10.
We’ve all heard the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” As much as we’d like to believe that words can’t hurt us, the truth of the matter is that words hurt, sometimes very much so. Our tongues, and the words we use, give light to what kind of people we are on the inside. Many times, the words we use do not add up with the lifestyle we claim to lead.
Try as we might, there is little we can do to control our tongues. We may try not to lose our tempers, or to speak out in anger, and we try to be more patient. However, despite all our best efforts, there are times in which we will say whatever is the first thing to come into our mind, whether good or bad. The tongue is a muscle that we cannot train nor tame. The words we use can hurt people more than a actual physical attack, and the scars left by our hurtful words linger and do not always heal. As James said, the tongue is full of deadly poison.
But our tongues aren’t completely bad, they can be used for good. It is with our tongues that we give voice to our prayers and our praise to God. It is with our tongues that we express sentiments of love and friendship. Yet these same tongues that can sing praises to God can also be used to hurt people, and more often the people we hurt with our tongues are the ones we love and care about. James issues a strong warning about cursing one another: since we are all made in God’s image, we are not only lashing out at man when we curse each other, but we are also cursing God, and that is something we should never do.
We must work daily on controlling our tongues. It is not an easy task, and it is one that we will struggle with. But we must not allow our tongues to be used to tear down others and to spew deadly poison. We cannot allow our tongues to give praise to God with one breath and curse our fellow believers with the next. We must remember that our words reflect the true nature of our hearts, if we have anger and hatred in our hearts, then naturally our words will be filled with hatred and anger. But if we have Christ in our hearts, our words should reflect that. We should not talk like everyone else, and we certainly should not use words that will hurt others.