James 3:1-12 says, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
“See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.”
There is an old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” This is a lie straight from Satan himself. Words can cut deep into a person’s soul and cause irreparable damage to them. Nothing hurts worse than when someone slanders you with half-truths and false allegations. And most of the time, when gossip is spread, it changes from person to person until it’s so far from the actual truth that it’s a flat-out lie.
Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” and Proverbs 11:9 says, “With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.”
There are many other verses in the Bible about holding your tongue. It’s very evident that the Word would rather we speak words of encouragement, love and grace rather than of slander, malice and anger.
Godly men and women must learn how to control their wagging tongues. Remember, we have a lost and dying world looking to us as the example. If we don’t show them Jesus in our word and actions, we might as well be sending them to Hell ourselves. No one is going to listen to someone who is always tearing down some person, some family, some business, or even some church with whom they don’t agree.
Growing up, I was always told, “if you can’t say something nice about someone, then just don’t say anything at all.” So, I am challenging all who say they are Christian to keep your tongue to yourself, unless you’re going to use it to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Wade Phillips is a pastor and evangelist with 3in1ministries.