Taming The Tongue

“For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.”  James 3:2

We all have experiences where we wished we would have not been quite to so quick to have said what we said. 

Perhaps our words got away from us because we became angry or impatient and in a fit of temper the words just erupted from our mouths. It might have felt good in that instance to have released that verbal volcano but later as we endeavored to clean up the mess those words had made we wished we’d had a little more self control. 

But perhaps it wasn’t temper at all that prompted our out of control words. Perhaps we were just excited and enthusiastic about what we had to say. Maybe it was a new story or joke we just couldn’t wait to tell and holding that excitement in had us practically bouncing in our chair. It was only later that we found out that what we just had to say was supposed to be kept a secret and now feelings are hurt. 

But perhaps it wasn’t about what we said at all. Maybe our untamed tongue was demonstrated by our unwillingness to say what needed to be said. We sat quiet while lies were told and people were hurt because we were afraid we’d be hurt too if we interfered. We stayed silent while a friend engaged in self-destructive behavior endangering himself and others all the while telling ourselves it wasn’t any of our business. Or just perhaps the silence we were clinging to concerns our responsibility to be the witness for Christ we’ve been called to be. Instead of prayerfully telling others of the great things God is doing we sit silent because we’re afraid of rejection or we don’t want to be a bother or nuisance. 

I think James is right. If we could exercise control over the words we say, weighing and censoring them so that we only say the ones that ought to be said and were not holding back from speaking the words that need to be said, then we’d demonstrate that we’re capable of exercising self control over every part of our lives. Of course it wouldn’t necessarily follow that we would exercise that self control it would just show that we had that capability. 

There are just so many opportunities to speak or refrain from speaking. Having the discretion to only and always say what needs to be said would be a miracle. Like so many other things in life this is only possible by Christ abiding in the life through the presence of the Holy Spirit. God can work miracles in our lives. The impossible becomes possible when we let God work his power. If we ask him to he’ll give is control over the words we say. 

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