Summary: The tongue can encourage and build up or discourage and tear down relationships.
Story: “The Tongue”
A biblical writer said, “The tongue can no man tame.” A Greek philosopher asked his servant to provide the best dish possible. The servant prepared a dish of tongue, saying: “It is the best of all dishes, because with it we may bless and communicate happiness, dispel sorrow, remove despair, cheer the fainthearted, inspire the discouraged, and say a hundred other things to uplift mankind.”
Later the philosopher asked his servant to provide the worst dish of which he could think. A dish of tongue appeared on the table. The servant said, “It is the worst, because with it we may curse and break human hearts; destroy reputations; promote discord and strife; set families, communities, and nations at war with each other.” He was a wise servant.
Solomon said, “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles” (Proverbs 21:23).
--J. Whitcomb Brougher
The tongue is not large in size compared to the liver, heart, lungs, or hand, but it is capable of causing a great deal of trouble for us. The words formed by the tongue can cause us to give people the wrong information and thereby place thoughts and ideas in their minds that are incorrect.
Whether we realize it or not, we are all teachers. I say this because we profess to be disciples or followers of Jesus. When Jesus walked the earth, he taught all those who came to him.
He taught them about being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Jesus never discouraged people when he taught, but he tried to uplift them in their daily walk. We are to do the same. We are not to be negative about what we say, but instead we are to be positive and encouraging.
Most of you have probably used the McCormick or some other line of seasoning products. You used these products because you wanted to bring out the flavor in the food you were preparing or just to give it a little flavor.
We should think of our tongue as the receptacle for dispensing the seasoning that will enhance another person’s life; thereby, uplifting their life to another level. Through our words expressing love and compassion and understanding, we will be following in the footsteps of Jesus. We will be bringing out the best in this person just as the McCormick’s bring out the best in food.
Jesus also taught his followers that they were the light of the world. If we are to be the light of the world, our actions should show it, but so should our words. If we take a candle and light it, the candle will give light to a dark room. We, as Christians, should be like that lit candle. We should shine forth so that other lives will shine forth.
Cold negative words spoken by us to another person is like a candle flame put out by a drop of water. Darkness falls upon the other person and they feel as thought no one cares and they are alone in the world. A tongue that has been used to tear down instead of build up is a tongue that has not been tamed.
Jesus told his disciples, and we are his disciples, to go into the world and tell or teach the people that he paid the penalty for sin and those who believe in him will be forgiven and their destiny is his kingdom. We can only do this by shaking out the positive truthful words from the tongue which is the seasoning receptacle.
Someone said that there is death or life in our words. Listen to these words:
“A careless word may kindle strife,
A cruel word may wreck a life;
A bitter word may hate instill,
A brutal word may smite and kill;
A gracious word may smooth the way
A joyous word may light the day;
A timely word may lessen stress,
A loving word may heal and bless.”
We are all teachers because we spread the Word of God through our witness to others and we will be held responsible for our words. Our words and our actions can have a profound effect upon the lives of those who hear and see us. James indicates that at some point in our journey we will be judged more strictly for what we teach.
You may say you are not a teacher, leader, manager because you do not have one of those titles, but let’s us be assured that being a child of the Most High, we are responsible for our words and actions. If our tongue sprinkles out bitter and disgusting seasoning, friendships and relationships are lost. If our actions are contrary to Jesus’ actions of love and compassion, then our actions will project a negative image toward Jesus. People will be driven away from the Savior instead of being drawn to him.