Arkansas Baptist News
The tongue is the smallest member of the body, yet it can bring great destruction. It’s like a termite: It may be small in size and go relatively unnoticed, but in the end, it can do great damage if left unchecked!
James 3:8 talks about mankind’s ability to tame wild animals, adding, “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
We witness “untethered” or “unrestrained” tongues every day – especially in our current age of 24-hour talk news and TV! And – perhaps like you – I have witnessed individuals and families destroyed by a loose tongue.
We all struggle with the tongue at times. Following are some steps to controlling the tongue that I picked up along the way, … so these observations aren’t my own, but they are good instruction (I wish I could recall in whose sermon I heard these)!
First, we must recognize that we have a choice. James 3:2-3 tells us that we can bridle our tongue. After all, the fruit of the Spirit is self-control, according to Gal. 5:22-23.
Secondly, to control our tongues, we have to respect the power of our words. James 3:3-4 says even big ships are guided by a small rudder … guided by the pilot.
Third, we must control our thoughts before they reach our mouths. We should take every thought captive to obey Christ. Many times, the first thing we want to say can be the most critical. Pause and consider how Jesus would respond.
Fourth, we must accept that we can’t do it alone. We must admit that we can’t do it alone; it is not our human nature. It’s increasingly evident that we live in an angry world. People today are so angry and many times out of control.
The only hope we have of controlling our attitude and tongue is through our Helper and Guide, the Spirit of God.
And finally, we must identify the source of our problem (James 3:15). Hurt people hurt people. A lot of people like this have been hurt by someone else earlier in their lives, and they – either consciously or subconsciously – in turn hurt people. I have known pastors and leaders in churches who constantly have gotten jabs from some people in the churches where they have served – pointing out their every flaw. A close inspection of these individuals reveals it is their hearts that needs healing. These people can (and do) destroy churches.
As Arkansas Baptists, we have important work to do through our local church before Jesus returns.
If there are unresolved issues that need fixing – issues that cause your tire (attitude) to go flat – fix it by crying out to God for healing and repair, asking Him to give you the strength to be a positive light for the gospel instead of a negative one.
Tim Yarbrough is editor of the Arkansas Baptist News.