Did you know that the tongue is more powerful than a gun? While a gun can only take physical life, the tongue influences eternal destinations. For this reason, God says in Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” So, do we own our tongue or does our tongue own us? Yes, it is challenging to control the tongue, but God teaches that it can and should be done (James 3:8-12). Consider a few points on controlling the tongue.
First, cursing. While many consider inappropriate words to be a small thing, God tells us, “Let no corrupt communication proceed from out of your mouth, but that which is good” (Eph. 4:29). While cursing includes toward God, parents, and others, today cursing is the use of profanities or vulgar sayings, nasty jokes, and similar talk. Yet, Paul wrote, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Therefore, the Bible is very clear that inappropriate words are not small things, but in fact, they will be judged (Matt. 12:36-37).
Next, gossip. While many people consider gossip to be a small thing, they are engaging in a destructive sin. Some people enjoy the telling and hearing of gossip. In Proverbs 26:22, the Scripture states, “The words of a whisperer are as dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts.” In other words, people devour gossip like sweets, always looking for more, but gossip is destructive to the soul. Therefore, to overcome it, we must obey the words of Proverbs 20:19, “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore, do not associate with a simple babbler.” In other words, don’t listen to person that gossips! Change the subject! Because gossip stops when we refuse to listen.
Finally, honest speech. Perhaps one of the easiest sins to commit with the tongue is lying. Whether to avoid blame, sound cool, take credit, it is easy to say false words, but consider Colossians 3:9-10; God makes it clear, “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
When you see yourself face-to-face in the mirror of God’s word, do you own your tongue or does your tongue own you? Do you control your tongue in cursing, gossip, and honest speech? Remember Proverbs 21:23, “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.”