Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. —Psalm 141:3
Everyone has had the experience of saying something they wished was never spoken. You long to take those words back and forget them. Unfortunately, once words are expressed there is no tape to rewind and start over. You can see why the Scriptures refer to the tongue as a weapon:
Reckless words pierce like a sword…. —Proverbs 12:18
Being the weapon it is, the tongue must be handled with care and aligned with the Scriptures. Sadly, when untamed the tongue can leave in its wake divorces, broken friendships, wars, destroyed confidences, job losses, crushed spirits, etc. The unharnessed tongue of a believer damages the kingdom because no untamed tongue can represent the love, mercy, and glory of Christ.
In contrast, a spiritually inspired tongue is one that spiritually heals others as revealed in the second part of Proverbs 12:18:
…but the tongue of the wise brings healing. —Proverbs 12:18
In its entirety this scripture reads, “Reckless words pierce like a sword but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Now when you add Paul’s teaching about the fruit of the Spirit (…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, Galatians 5:22-23) to your speech, the Lord becomes glorified; His healing is revealed. To do otherwise is just loitering in the evil one’s playground of hate, joylessness, unrest, pressure, lack of sympathy, unfaithfulness, harshness, and lack of control.
The bottom line: your speech is intended to plant seeds of hope and healing into those around you. Never forget that your speech is part of your testimony, which has a direct impact on your ability to reach others for Christ. So with your speech comes the choice to say either spiritually wise words that heal and bring hope or unwholesome words that pierce the kingdom. Sounds harsh, but it’s one way or the other. Either your words will lift others’ spirits up and draw them closer to the Lord for restoration or they won’t. Words represent your testimony, so I encourage you to choose your words wisely so they align with the Lord’s holy testimony.
Allow your speech to be a fruitful testimony of God’s love, mercy, and grace. Do not allow your tongue to transform you into a spiritual hypocrite by praising the Lord with one side of your mouth while the other side is spewing untamed piercing words.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. —James 3:9-12
- How well are you in control of your speech?
- Does your speech always represent God’s love, mercy, and grace?
- Do you need to reconcile with someone regarding words harshly spoken?
- Take a few minutes to pray to the Lord asking Him to reveal the areas of your speech that do not represent His love, mercy, and grace. Afterward, sit quietly and listen for how the Spirit is guiding you.
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. —James 1:26