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.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
JAMES 3:1-12, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
We are to use our tongues as follows:
- to proclaim God’s righteousness and His praises (Psalm 35:28)
- to speak God’s Word (Psalm 119:72)
- for singing praises (Psalm 126:2)
- for kindness (Proverbs 31:26)
- to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God, the Father (Philippians 2:11)
Our tongues should be used to glorify God and to edify others. They should be under the control of the Holy Spirit like the mind and the other members of our bodies. When we use our tongues for good and wisely, we bring glory to God who has made the mouth (Exodus 4:11).
King Solomon said that whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles (Proverbs 21:23) His father, King David spoke of guarding his ways lest he sinned with his tongue (Psalm 39:1).
Guard your tongue. If you have nothing good or positive to say, hold your tongue. Use it to encourage, comfort or to lovingly correct. Although, it’s little, the tongue can cause great damage if used unwisely. When it comes to controlling our tongues, we need the Holy Spirit’s help.
“He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit” – 1 Peter 3:10, International Standard Version