Summary: 4 of 5 on home and family. This message is on the importance of controlling the tongue. The empahasis is on how choose carefully what you say.

Heaven Help the Home

The Power of Words

People will be rewarded for what they say; they will be rewarded by how they speak. What you say can mean life or death. Those who speak with care will be rewarded.

Proverbs 18:20

This morning we speak of the power of words and the critical importance of taming the tongue.

I love words. I have always loved words because of their many abilities to communicate knowledge, to inspire action, to calm the fearful, to encourage the depressed, to express anger, and to display beauty with words that paint a picture.

I love a good story teller who with his voice draws an image in your mind that is more real than what a filmmaker puts on the silver screen.

Words are powerful and beautiful because they contain so much of life itself.

In fact, I think of word as containers. Some are round, like pie plates. Some are rectangular, like bread pans. And some are oversize like big mixing bowls. Some are colorful and even gaudy while others are tough and resilient. They will hold up under intense heat and you can even put them in the freezer and they won’t crack.

You can put so much into these containers.

Our words can be filled with love, joy, happiness and blessing or they can be filled with sarcasm, unbelief, all kinds of negativity, and even hate.

Words can curse and words can bless. Words can encourage and bring life. Words can discourage and bring death.

The words that you hear linger with you.

Biting, stinging, hurtful words we speak to our wife, husband, or children as they leave the house in the morning can rob them all through the day.

Loving and tender words of encouragement can linger too, and keep them encouraged all through the day and bring them to victory.

Clearly taming the tongue is critical to good relationships and good living

Taming the Tongue is Critical to Good

Relationships and Good Living

A Bit – Small but Controlling

A Rudder – Extremely Influential

A Raging Fire – Dangerously Destructive

A Wild Animal - Uncontrollable

A Spring – either Sweet or Bitter

A Fruit – either One Kind or Another

James 3:1-12

James speaks of the power and influence of the tongue. In the third chapter of his letter to all Christians everywhere he teaches us that the importance of controlling the tongue.

He uses in quick succession six images that speak of the power, influence, danger and profundity of the tongue.,

It is a bit, a rudder, a raging forest fire, a wild animal, a spring of either sweet or bitter water, or a fruit of one kind or another.

What comes from the mouth has the power to make life good or miserable and it will do the one and not the other or it will do the other and not the one. It is either – or – not both. How you control your tongue is critical to your spiritual health and your well being.

We would do well to follow sound Biblical counsel in

how to tame the tongue.

Strangely enough, the first step to taming the tongue is to not use it at all.

James puts it this way in the first chapter of his letter.

1st: Listen Before you Speak

My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily…

James 1:19

The best way to gain control of your tongue is to listen more than you talk.

Dale Carnegie says that you can make more friends in two weeks by becoming a good listener than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in you.

We don’t listen very well. Many people listen only so we can talk. We aren’t really listening to what the other person is saying we’re just listening for a pause so we can speak – this is especially true of an argument (where two people talk and no one is listening at all!)

There are some who don’t talk or listen and that’s not good either!

In his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace, Philip Yancey tells the true story of a Texas couple who had trouble with pride. An argument ensued one day when the husband felt that his wife had spent too much on sugar at the grocery story. The argument was never resolved. They lived together for forty years without speaking a word to one another. One day the husband took out a lumber saw and sawed their home exactly in half. He nailed up planks to cover the raw sides and moved one of the halves behind a row of scruffy pine trees on the same acre of ground. There the two, husband and wife, lived out the rest of their days in separate half-houses.

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