Summary: Controlling the tongue - What is acceptable, and what is not. How are we to react?

Opening Illustration – Demonstrate the types of “wireless” technology available today.

(with each item, conclude with “no restraints . . . unless the battery dies – no signal – etc)

The conclusion of the illustration: Wireless has no restraint – However, the battery never dies with the tongue, and unfortunately, the tongue never loses it signal . . .

The power of the unrestrained tongue should never be underestimated!

James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.

Karl Marx (philosopher and author that promoted socialism – The forerunner of communism) once said,

"Give me 26 lead soldiers, and I will conquer the world." He spoke of the letters of the alphabet

1) Letters go together to form words

2) Words when put together in the right combination have the power to either inspire or discourage

3) They have the power to heal, or to wound

Communication is critical . . . Scripture continually calls us to encourage or build-up each other.

Ephes. 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

I. WHAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE? (Important to note that each of these situations is based on a desire to hurt someone else . . . These are intents to cause damage.)

A. Intent to Create Contention – Seeking to Stir up Trouble

Proverbs 16:28 (NIV) A perverse man stirs up dissension . . .

Perverse: Directed away from what is right or good. Obstinately persisting in an error or fault; wrongly self-willed or stubborn. Marked by a disposition to oppose and contradict.

1) Such individuals have only their own interests at heart

B. Slander - Remarks with Intent to Hurt Another’s Reputation

Psalm 101:5 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, Him I will destroy . . .

C. Backbiting – Speaking Ill of Someone Behind Their Back

1) Described in Jeremiah 9:8 Their tongue is an arrow shot out; It speaks deceit;

One speaks peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, But in his heart he lies in wait.

Illustration – I recall a pastor friend of mine who told me about a problem he was encountering. He said that he was having communication difficulties with an individual in his church – This person would be cordial to him, but was talking bad to someone else about him! I asked him if he had talked to this person in an attempt to bridge the gap. He said, “No, my deacon is doing that.” So I wanted to know further and I asked him, “Let me understand this correctly . . . This person is having problems with you, or with your deacon??” He said, “No, he is having problems with me.” I then asked him, “So how do you know this guy has a problem with you?” He replied, “My deacon told me.”

I asked further, “Did your deacon do the right thing and encourage this person to go to you personally?” He said, “Oh no, my deacon handles this kind of problem.” . . .

How can anyone build or repair a relationship if they NEVER get together with the person who has the issue?


2) This type of backbiting is strongly condemned in Scripture!

Psalm 15:1-3 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? 2He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; 3He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;

D. Demeaning Your Spouse

Illustration: Broken marriages are often the result of a breakdown in communication:

A marriage counselor was attempting to assist a man who was determined that divorce was the only solution: Trying to get to the core of the problem the counselor asked, “Do you and your wife have a grudge?” The man answered, “Actually, we don’t, but we do have a nice carport.”

The counselor tried a different approach, “So you are determined to divorce . . . do you have any grounds?” The man answered, “Why yes. We have almost an acre.”

After a few more questions that yielded fruitless results, the counselor shook his head and said, “Sir, I’m sorry, but I just don’t see any reason why you should divorce your wife.” The man looked at the counselor and said to him, “But you don’t understand! My wife can’t carry on an intelligent conversation!”

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