19 Nov 2018
Taming the Tongue
One of the most challenging ministries in the church is that of the teacher. James is referring to those who are pastors, church leaders, missionaries or evangelists. Those who give instruction in God’s Word will be held to the highest level of accountability and must realise that no one has a more serious responsibility than them. Because of their position of influence they will be judged strictly in the final judgement.
This leads James to point out the importance of the tongue and the dangers of using it in a wrong way. We can use unkind words, lie, exaggerate, give misleading teaching, slander others, gossip, make hurtful remarks, tell suggestive jokes and boast with the tongue, and that’s just a few examples. As Christians we are taught that to keep our tongues under control, and God offers His Holy Spirit to help us.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV): “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
This verse offers a filter through which the words that come out of our mouths should pass. We so easily sin with our words and James challenges us. James 1:19 (NIV) says:
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
How easily the wrong words come if we allow anger to take over.
In James 3:6 he goes on to liken the tongue to a fire. We can easily sin with our words to the point that we soon become hypocrites. With the tongue we praise the Lord but also curse men (see James 3:9).
Pause and reflect: “Help us, Father, to use our tongues to bless and encourage those we meet today. Amen.”