Think Before You Speak Part 2: The Untamable Tongue

Photo Credit: Aaron Evans
tongue (noun)
1. Anatomy; the usually movable organ in the floor of the mouth in humans and most vertebrates, functioning in eating, in tasting, and, in humans, in speaking.
2. the human tongue as the organ of speech
3. the faculty or power of speech

In Part 1 of the Think Before You Speak Series, I addressed The Problem With Venting It’s time to take a closer look at the small, yet critical force that is our tongue, and I’d like to begin with a story…

“Well, ya know, I mean the Bible tells us to love everybody.  So yeah, I guess I love her.”  Ouch.  Those were the words I heard when my former Pastor asked my boyfriend at the time if he loved me.  We’d been having problems, and with talk of marriage it was imperative that we ironed our issues out.  Needless to say this comment was the nail in the coffin, and I cut ties with this individual almost immediately. I should’ve felt free and confidant, knowing that I would no longer have to spend any energy on someone who wasn’t worthy of my love and devotion.  I should’ve been relieved to have this toxic person out of my life.  I should’ve been able to shrug my shoulders and forget the hurtful things that were said, with as much ease as the shoulders shrugged who said them.  Alas, the story didn’t go that way.  His statement (among other unpleasant ones) left me feeling empty, insecure, and inadequateThe harsh words could not be taken back, and the pain I experienced was not easily overcome.

Friends, did you know that our words have the potential to cause harm?  I shared this with you to clearly illustrate what can happen when we underestimate the power of this tiny member of our body.  For all intensive purposes it’s nothing more than a necessary organ for eating and speaking, but used in the wrong way unspeakable damage can be done.

Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Have you ever said how broke you were financially and wondered why your income never increased?  Maybe you’ve been sick and instead of claiming your healing you cling to your miserable state as that cough or sore throat sticks with you for days. I’ve heard teachers or parents refer to a struggling child as slow or stupid (breaks my heart!) ,yet they act surprised when they bring home a failing grade.  The reason for this cause and effect is because we’ve turned our thoughts in to action and given place to those actions by the power of our words.

Luke 6:45 (NKJV)

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

When we speak death in our circumstances (negativity, defeat, hopelessness) that’s exactly what we’re going to receive.  On the other hand we can speak life (faith, love, and hope with a Godly perspective) and reap the benefits of using our words wisely.  This is not only true when dealing with our personal situations, but also in what we share with others. Are you bringing joy and peace, or harm and destruction into the life of someone else? I’ve been on the receiving end of both (as I’m sure we all have), and as much as the words of exhortation have lifted me up, words of devastation have also caused my spirit to come crashing down.

Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

Proverbs 15:4 (NLT) Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

I once heard a Pastor say the fork in the tongue is like the road.  We choose which direction to travel, and with the help of Holy Spirit we can be kept on the right path.  I understand that this message is not a new one, but I’m trusting it’s one that’s being shared in due season.  Each and every day we’re given numerous opportunities to use our words for good or for evil, and as James describes below, we ought to show the tongue the respect it deserves.  Let us all take a moment and consider how we can do more to “tame” the untamable tongue!

James 3:5-12 (NLT)

5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.  But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 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, for it is set on fire by hell itself. 7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

Be blessed and stay tuned for Part 3!

Are you speaking life or death into your circumstances?

Do you encourage or discourage others when you speak to them?

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22 thoughts on “Think Before You Speak Part 2: The Untamable Tongue

  1. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend my friend. Yes, the tongue is a two edge sword. It can build and inspire or it can destroy the human spirit. How we use it makes a difference. I was a bit mad yesterday and I know that nothing good will come out if I speak, so I kept quiet, let it pass …did some cardio work out. Then it went away. Of course , it helps a lot to pray and meditate and ask for guidance, patience, calmness. We are human and we have emotions that we need to control but with God’s help we can choose the good ones. Great post. Wishing you and your family all the beautiful blessings…

    1. Hi friend! I’m so glad you shared this response with me! This is such a broad and important topic and I was having trouble focusing my thoughts. Hearing from you has reassured me that I’ve indeed been able to make the points God would have me to convey and I only want to please Him! I was sick this week and had some frustrations, so I know exactly what you mean. I remained positive even when I didn’t feel like it and spoke the outcomes I wanted to see and had faith they would come to pass. They did and I’m glad my own tongue didn’t become my worst enemy. 😉
      God bless you and I hope you and your family also enjoy a lovely weekend!

  2. Words can kill you or they can save you. It’s interesting that every religious text as well as some Native American stories I’ve heard remarks about the power of the word. Regardless of any one person’s spiritual background, everyone can be connected to this idea. Thank you for sharing examples both from scripture and in your own life of how words contain powerful meanings. I think about how it applies directly to my life and I recall a teacher telling my parents to accept that their daughter was just ” slow” and would never learn to read. Then I remember another teacher telling them to never provide me with an excuse not to be the best, to set their standards high because I would live up to whatever message they gave me. This teacher would tell me every day, ” Helen Keller was deaf and blind and she learned to read, so if she can do it, you with far less challenges certainly can!”. I am so grateful for the power this message had on my life. Today I remember that the most important words are the ones we tell ourselves. We have a choice to believe or not believe the words we hear from others and it is God that gives us that discernment. Thank you for posting such an important, simple and yet powerful idea.

    1. Hey Tiff!
      Thanks for sharing such a poignant example! It’s true that the words we receive and choose to internalize can aid in setting the course for our lives in either a positive or negative direction. I’m so glad that in your situation you listened to the one who built you up instead of tearing you down, and I pray we all have that discernment. Words matter, and we should never underestimate what we say, nor what we believe.

  3. I needed this today! I am really trying to work on my attitude and have realized that my tongue is like the tail of the kite in terms of it all! MINE at least….lol.
    I think Oh Lord, please just put your Hand over my mouth when my words will ultimately send my day crashing to the ground and that is when HE gives me a little more sting and tells me that I can do it… so I keep trying… someday… I pray that I will have mastered the flight of staying up there… enjoying the view and keeping the bad stuff that I see to myself!
    Thanks so much. I have been skimming a lot of words lately. These ones made me come to a screeching halt and slow down and reeeeally read it slowly. Needed those verses today!
    Thank you for being HIS vessel!!!!

    1. Praise the Lord! I thank you for your transparency because this issue is so real to all of us. It may be to varying degrees, but the struggle is there. It makes me more grateful to know that there’s nothing new under the sun, and like any other obstacle or hurdle the Lord WILL help us overcome negative thoughts, words or attitudes. Each day I strive to be better in Him, and your comment also helped me recall another verse I wanted to add. The latter part of Luke 6:45 reminds us that “out of the abundance of your heart the mouth speaks”, so I encourage you and I to take a good hard look at what’s in our hearts, in order to begin making those changes in life, love and positive thinking and speaking.

  4. Hi Patricia, I have my own Computer again so I will try to catch up with your Posts over the next few days, thank you for this message it has very good teaching and yes we can be assured garbage in is garbage out and there are many forms of garbage such as the Occult, Cult teaching, worldly Psychology, or coarse and cruel joking and words etc and we also know that Jesus in is Jesus out as Julie at jams4 Jesus reminded us yesterday and we do need to uplift and encourage others in the good they do in Jesus name and also those who may not know Him as their Lord and Saviour yet but are seeking, in their hearts but this is not about insincere flattery, which will be shown false.

    As we know there is another Truth that the Scriptures tell us we must be aware of and that is often people will only accept what they want to hear and what makes them feel good or they agree with, in other words they have itching ears ( see below)

    2 Timothy 4: 3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    Jesus tried to warn the Pharisees including the Church Leaders, He called them a brood of Vipers and got the whip out but then He also reassured then He Loved them ( they killed Him ) and Paul often rebuked and also told some in the Church they were acting childish, I’m sure they were not impressed with the correction 🙄 and no doubt some left the Church. Cults and False Teachers twist, leave out and add to the Scriptures to confirm their lies and those who are deceived pass them on, this is why we need God’s wisdom not fleshy man’s understanding.

    As for correcting, rebuking and warning those who sin, if we Love them we will as God tells us to do, but will they listen perhaps not at the time but the seeds of Truth have been planted, yes they may reject what we share or ignore us even abuse and kill us but they can’t claim they were not told and they will answer for their own actions especially in rejecting the Scriptures that warn them they are in error even though they claim to know the Truth, but as 1Corinthians 2:9-16 tells us without the Holy Spirit they don’t.

    Thanks again Patricia I will be in touch again soon.

    Christian Love from both of us Ron and Anne.

    1. I’m glad your computer issues have been resolved. I’ve missed hearing from you both this week!

      Thank you for bringing out this incredibly important point. Lies, especially those against the true nature of God and His Word are the most harmful kind, and there will be a day of reckoning for those who knowingly distort the Truth. In this society where everyone wants to have a “buffet-style” religion (picking and choosing what works for them) it’s that much more important to be discerning of the words we speak and the ones we let into our hearts.

      Looking forward to hearing from you again soon!

      With Love in Christ!

      1. P.S I forgot to ask you Patricia, did you receive my e-mail, I was concerned because when I clicked onto one of your other Posts to reply it said you had deleted your Blog, I have a Screenshot of this but here we are, so it seems that WordPress have got it wrong, you will need to contact them or others will think the same.

        I couldn’t imaging Patricia that you would deceive people like some others have done by allowing someone else use your deleted Blog, of course God knows their deception and they will answer for it, as you said lies to deceive others by words or actions regardless of how they are justified is evil and sin, of course as I shared on one of my Posts, when something is done for protection or for good according to God’s Truth it is not evil but what these people are doing who take over other peoples Blogs is for their own agenda shown by their manipulation and they are accountable. Let me know how you go with WordPress as we continue sharing with you on your Deleted Blog. 🙁

        Christian Love – Anne.

        1. Anne,
          I did receive your email and it was so thoughtful of you to check in on me and inform me of he misinformation you received. I did in fact change my url address, so I hope the misunderstanding is nothing more than this. I thought it was a relatively easy adjustment, but I will ask for guidance from some of my more technologically advanced friends to make sure others aren’t missing my blog as well!!

          Glod bless your heart!

  5. Hi Patricia, I was warned recently about a man who Blogs who has been rebuking other Christians quiet a lot publicly and many have been hurt by what he has claimed about these people, some who are well known and they are angry at what they feel was an unloving and unjust attack but I can’t remember what his name is or his Blog, have you heard about him ?

    I of course I can’t say if his actions were wrong or right, not just going by hearsay, those who passed it on may have their own fleshy agenda but I can say again, when we rebuke or warn those who sin or correct error, it must be for Love and in Love and God tells us in His guidelines how we are to do this and we need to be faithful to do these things He asks in His way and most important we need His wisdom to do so, the mess we have today in the Churches is because man has trusted in their own fleshy understanding, logic, wisdom and reasoning and rejected God’s Truth.

    I will be back soon – Christian Love from both of us – Ron and Anne.

    1. I am not familiar with this gentleman you’re referring too, but I will certainly keep my eyes and ears open. What you have shared is so true, and I pray more believers take this into serious account. Operating in Godly wisdom is the principal thing.

      With Love in Christ,

      1. I agree! Sometimes it is so easy to let our flesh get in the way… or to put it clearly, our hurt feelings. We get offended so easily. Do you think Jesus would get into a texting war? People were beheaded in His name! We need to try to reply in love to everything. Too many times I have watched as “believers” fight with the “mockers” and just cringe… THAT is why I don’t have a sticker on my car professing my faith!!! lol… no really…. seriously though, I reeeeeally think we need to be shining lights for HIM. Not debaters. Jesus said “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” I am not so sure I could have had one speck of “love” in my heart if they were pressing a crown of thorns on my head and nails in my limbs and spitting at me. But we need to at least try to pick up our cross daily and honor HIS example.
        I fall short daily… but just like your recent examples of the tongue…. it is a tiny bit easier when using the keyboard to at least think or even better pray before you tap away and push SEND…. to those mockers. We should all take heed of your lesson on the tongue when replying to the people like the one mentioned above. Who knows… he may be a Paul and do a 180 if someone says an unexpected thing that the Lord gives them to say that blows him away and pricks his heart. They seek out belivers to taunt us for a reason… they are hurting and searching.

        1. Ooooh wee you hit the nail on the head! Hurt feelings are not an excuse to behave badly. Just this morning I shared a post on the joys of persecution and there’s verse after verse forewarning us that we will suffer for His name. That doesn’t give us permission to retaliate, and our level of “suffering” is nothing compared to what Christ endured for our sinful-selves!! The thing about harsh words is that they have a lingering affect. The can be replayed in our minds over and over again, and even though it’s up to us to overcome the negativity with the Word of God, why be in this position in the first place, whether it be something you’ve said ir something you’ve heard? Walk in love, act in love, speak in love, and honor Christ!!!

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