Summary: Has the tongue really changed? Have new avenues of having our voices heard revealed more of who we truly are? How do we contol the uncontrollable tongue?
The Tongue is Still the Tongue
Warning About the Tongue
Ok, everybody do this (stick out your tongue). Now look at the person next to you. Nasty, ain’t it! That’s really, really gross!
But, for all the grossness you see on a physical tongue, none of that compares to the nastiness that can be voiced by the tongue. James 3:6 “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” What a statement! The tongue is set on fire by hell itself!
But not mine. Surely my tongue is under control. Listen again to what James says. James 3:1-8 “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” No one can control the tongue. When we set ourselves to conquer the tongue by ourselves, we lose every time.
Gossip and Slander
But, we know what is taught about gossip, right? Proverbs 11:13 “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” Proverbs 16:28 “ A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.”
We know what Scripture teaches regarding slander, right? 1 Corinthians 6:10 “…slanderers will not inherit the kingdom of God…” 2 Timothy 3:2-5 “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
But, sometimes knowledge and practice can be two different things.
WWJT (What Would Jesus Tweet/Text)
Double the Speak
Going back to James, he tells us in 1:19 “Let everyone be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” Yet despite this admonition to let hearing be far greater than speaking, look at all the inventions man has created for his voice to be heard as opposed to the inventions made to hear the voice of another.
Various Voice Amplifiers
Architectural designs in buildings for one persons voice to be heard
above all the others
Oh, maybe there’s been a few more things for hearing, but you get the picture. Even our phones are designed more for speaking than listening. Ask a person how to turn down the volume to lower the voice of the person who’s speaking, and they can immediately show you. However, ask that same person where the button is that can mute their own voice, and they’d be hard-pressed to find it. But, it is there.
Thousands have fought and died for the “freedom of speech”, but no one is clamoring for laws that protect our “freedom to listen”.
Use of Social Media
Alas, we come to the pinnacle of having our voices heard: Social Media.
“Hold on”, you say, “That’s not speech. That’s typing. That makes it different.” An argument like that is an argument of ignorance.
It’s amazing to me how many people think they can post something on social media, without it in any way being a reflection of themselves. When you post a nasty joke, a provocative or even bordering pornographic picture of yourself or someone else, or something containing filthy language, you are announcing to everyone the type of morals that guide your life. When someone sees you, who are supposed to be a Christian, post these kinds of things, you become the stumbling block that Jesus said in Luke 17 that it would be better for you to have a large stone hung around your neck and you drown in the sea.