The power of our words can bring about good or bad things into both our own lives and others – depending on how well we control our tongues.
…the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire. – James 3:5,6, NLT
Because it is within our nature to be self-centered and thoughtless towards others (Genesis 6:5; Romans 3:10-18; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12), our tongues will cause a lot of chaos if we are not careful. It is very hard for humanity in general to have self-control over their tongues, but God holds Christians to higher standards and expectations. Those who have believed in Christ have received the Holy Spirit, so we do have more power to "think before we speak." We are also accountable to God for our actions.
But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another. I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. – Galatians 5:15,16, HCSB
The following are some of the expectations that God has for us religious folks.
If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself. – James 1:26, HCSB
Honestly, there are a lot of people who will call themselves religious, but if they use the power of their words without self-control, have they deceived themselves regarding their own faith?
Avoidance of Sin
I said, “I will guard my ways so that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle as long as the wicked are in my presence.” – Psalms 39:1, HCSB
When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise. – Proverbs 10:19, HCSB
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. – James 1:19,20, ESV
The bottom line, we sin with our lips, not just our actions. In fact, we probably sin more by what we say than by what we do. We show love towards others (which is the second greatest commandment of God, Matthew 22:37-40) by listening and thinking before we speak.
We are going to die because of our sins. Jesus died in our place because of our sins. If we have believed in Christ, we cannot make a mockery of the crucifixion of our Lord. Let us prove our loyalty to God by controlling our tongues.
Protection From Life's Troubles
Whoever controls his mouth protects his own life. Whoever has a big mouth comes to ruin. – Proverbs 13:3, GW
Whoever guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. – Proverbs 21:23, GW
Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. – Proverbs 29:20, NKJV
We love to hear ourselves speak. We can be proud, crude, and thoughtless of others just so we can get our point across or fit in. But do we care more about other people hearing us than we do about our own happiness? According to God's word, opening our mouths in the wrong way brings us ruin, troubles, and hopelessness. Is it worth the trade?
A Mark of Wisdom
He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive. – Proverbs 17:27,28, NKJV
A fool speaks all his mind; but a wise one keeps it in until afterwards. – Proverbs 29:11, MKJV
We love the power of our words. We throw our words around like a sword to prove our intelligence and authority. But if we want to be wise, we will think before we speak. We will use self-control. We will bite our tongues until they bleed rather than dishonor God or hurt others.
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. – Psalms 141:3, NKJV
…in Jesus Name, Amen.
We are going to see a little more about how wise people should talk in the next article: The inescapable power of words XI, the speech of the wise
If you'd like to read this series from the beginning, please click here: The inescapable power of words, Introduction