Summary: I talk about the destructiveness of an uncontrolled tongue and then share what we can do to better manage it.
Intro: Have you ever said anything you later regretted? I wished I had 10 bucks for every time I said something that I shouldn’t have in my life. As we think about saything the wrong things let me share with you a couple of things NOT to say to a police officer. 1). Sorry, officer, I didn’t realize my radar director wasn’t plugged in! 2). Hey, you must’ve been doing about 125 MPH to keep us with me. Good job! 3). You’re not gonna check the trunk are you? 4). Gee officer! That’s terrific. The officer who stopped me 2 miles back gave me a warning, too! Here are some things you should never say once without thinking twice: 1). It’s no trouble at all. 2). I love dogs. 3). We have plenty of room. 4).Call me any time. 5). Is there anything I can do? 6). My husband is a doctor. 7). I’ll try anything once. 8). Of course, bring the kids. 9). Why don’t you stay for dinner. 10). If worse comes to worst you can use mine!
What comes out of our mouths can get us into trouble. We’ve all been there. We’ve said things we shouldn’t have. Let’s face it, we can all learn to be better at watching what comes out of our mouths. James is talking about the power of the tongue in chapter 3. Read 3:1-12.
Here is the truth about the tongue that James shares with us:
** Although small, the tongue packs a huge punch!
Illustration: My brother Lesly is 5’8. In high school he weighed about 130 pounds with rocks in his pocket. To a lot of people he was small in stature but man when he played football he could put a hurtin on you. He didn’t care how big the opponents were. He would run over linebackers. His size wasn’t intimidating but his vicious hits were.
Likewise, the tongue, although a small part of the body hurts others –destroys anything in its path. That’s what a fire does. The greatest of fires can be started by just a small spark. John Wycliffe said—“The tongue breaks the bone even though the tongue has no bone. Many of you are still coping and getting over the destructive words that you heard come out of the mouths of those you love. Words do cut like a knife. They have the power to bring life or death. Not only do our words hurt others sometimes but they also hurt us.
It hurts us. That’s why James says it (tongue) “corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. It corrupts us. We say hurtful, meaningless things to one another. It can destroy all it comes in contact with including the person who has the out of control tongue. 1Peter 3:10 says, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.” The reason many people are not enjoying life today is because of the results of what has come out of their mouths.
**James also teaches us in this passage that the tongue can get out of hand. James says we have done a great job of taming Tigers, Lions, lizards, parrots, and dolphins but no man has tamed the tongue. He calls it a restless evil, full of deadly poison. The truth about poison is that even small amounts can be deadly.
James gives an illustration of how our tongues are not completely tamed. Verses 9-10: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers this should not be.”
Our tongue reveals how inconsistent we can be. Just think about some of the things that come out of our mouths. “I love you to someone we truly love. Then a day later we say I can’t stand being around you. We recite John 3:16 which says, “For God so loved the world” and yet we say to one of our friends after church, “did you see who was in church today? What were they doing there?
You see our tongue is a thermometer. It shows our spiritual temperature. If our words are bad it reveals the condition of our spiritual state. The tongue is also a thermostat. It regulates. We need to keep a close eye on the thermostat. If our tongues are out of control our relationship with God is out of control. The Bible teaches us that were words are many sin is not absent.
We need to embrace a new or renewed perspective about what we say. We need to keep it under control. How can we get into the habit of doing that? I would like to share from God’s word some truths that can help us to say the right things and use our tongues to glorify God, and build up others.