Summary: The human tongue can be used in positive and negative ways.

Taming the Tongue

James 3:1 - 12

Intro: Bubba and Billy Joe were out in the woods when suddenly Billy Joe grabbed his chest and fell to the ground. He didn’t seem to be breathing, his eyes were rolled back in his head and his tongue was hanging out. Terrified, Bubba whipped out his cell phone and dialed 911. “My friend is dead! What can I do?” he cried over the phone. In a calm, soothing voice, the operator said, “Just take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead.” There was a moment of silence, and then the operator heard a single shot. Bubba came back on the line: “Okay, now what?”

I I am certain that the operator wishes she had phrased that a little differently! Have you ever opened your mouth and something comes out that you wish you could take back.

A My father gave me piece of advice when I was about to marry the first time. He said, "Never say in anger what you don’t mean because you can say you’re sorry but you can’t take it back.”

B A unchecked fire doubles in size every minute. Gossip and false teaching are not different.

C When I was a school teacher I heard a student unleash a barrage of 4-letter obscenities. I stopped him asking, “Do you kiss your mother with that filthy mouth?”

II Satan can use our tongue to cause division, putting others down, bragging, false teaching, exaggeration, complaining, or just flat out lying. It only takes a few words to hurt someone.

A Wounds heal but they leave scars which never disappear.

B Man has tamed every kind of animal there is but it is extremely difficult to tame the tongue.

C Blessing and curses come from the same mouth. As Christians we shouldn’t be letting our tongue take control of us.

Concl: We may not be able to fully tame this tiny terror; but, through the power of Christ Jesus with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we can make progress and do better.

Before we say anything we should ask ourselves: 1) Is what I want to say true? 2) Is it necessary? 3) Is it kind?

The teaching of James here in today’s lesson elaborates what he wrote in 1:19 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

To tame the tongue, we must be “quick to listen and slow to speak.”

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