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Can You Tame Your Tongue?

Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg
Boss speaking kind words to employee

Have you ever thought much about your tongue? It's really an amazing little member! It's such a wee, small thing, only about three or four inches long and a couple of inches wide, yet it can cause complete havoc and wreck your whole day and your relationships with others if it gets loose! Of all the weapons of warfare, the tongue has been the most destructive!--That is, a tongue out of control, an unkind tongue, a bitter tongue, a tongue that says harsh critical things and lashes out at others.

When a bad tongue is turned loose, EVERYBODY suffers! As the Bible says, "The tongue is a small part of the body, but what great damage it can do! Consider how a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a flame of fire, full of wickedness among the parts of the body! It can corrupt the whole person, set the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by Hell!"--James 3:5,6.

But on the other hand, "A WHOLESOME tongue is a tree of LIFE."--Proverbs 15:4. Your tongue can be inspired by HEAVEN in stead of being set afire by Hell! You can comfort, strengthen, encourage, inspire and uplift others with your tongue by speaking words of love, wisdom and encouragement!--GOD'S Words!

Solomon said, "The tongue has the power of LIFE and DEATH."--Proverbs 18:21. Think of that! The words formed by your tongue are REAL THINGS! They can BLESS or CURSE, they can lift up or knock down, they can save or damn! The old saying "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me", is not true at all! Some time ago a girl named Jesse Pepper, 18 years of age, was convicted of manslaughter because through her malicious gossip about a girl by the name of Mary Ellen, Mary Ellen was so hurt and discouraged that she committed suicide! It was called a "gossip slaying" because Mary took her life as a result of the gossip.

That's an extreme example, of course, but honestly now, is it THAT extreme? Have there ever been times when you've felt so LOW and DISCOURAGED that you felt like DYING because of someone's cruel, unkind words?-Or maybe YOU have wounded someone ELSE that way! Let's face it, we've all been guilty at some time or another of dealing blows with our words, and there's been many a time when we have wounded someone with our tongue.-Maybe unintentionally, maybe intended in fun, but unkind just the same, leaving a wound in someone's heart.

What a pity that we should ever wound a heart that may already be close to breaking, that may already be carrying a heavy burden that we don't know anything about! Maybe at that very moment they were longing for some kind word of encouragement, but instead our cutting words wounded deeply and left an ugly scar.

As the words to this old poem say:

"If I knew that a word of mine,
A word not kind and true,
Might leave its trace
On a loved one's face, I don't think I'd speak it,
Would YOU?

If I knew the sting of a word
Might linger and leave its mark,
With a deep dark scar
On a loved one's heart,
I don't think I'd speak that word,
Would YOU?"

But sadly, we often DO, and it only takes one sentence hastily spoken to start things going wrong, doesn't it?--So how can we guard against that thoughtless unkind word that can leap so quickly from the lips? What can we do to tame our tongues? Well, try as we may, there's often nothing much that we can do! The Bible says, "All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man. But NO man can tame the TONGUE!"--James 3:8.--Only GOD can tame it! For "with MAN it is IMPOSSIBLE, but with GOD, ALL things are POSSIBLE" (Matthew 19:26), even the control of our tongues! That's the ONLY way to tame the tongue, by allowing GOD to change our HEARTS, "for out of the abundance of the HEART the MOUTH SPEAKS."--Matthew 12:34. If your heart is overflowing with God's Love, then the words of your mouth will be filled with love and tender compassion, because "God IS Love!"--1John 4:8.

There's only one way to change the untamed tongue, and that is to change the SPIRIT that CONTROLS it! You can never control it yourself. JESUS is the only true source of love, kindness, goodness and sweetness, and as you allow Jesus to take control of your life, He also takes control of your tongue. His Spirit in you will inspire you and even speak through you His wonderful words of love, light and life!

Do you faithfully read and study God's Word? His Words can't very well abide in you unless you read them, can they? Do you take time for prayer, spending time loving Jesus and waiting in His presence? If you don't do this, then your words will lack the power, inspiration and life that only HE can give! "There is a spirit in Man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding."--Job 32:8. But if you neglect to spend time with Him, your words will come out as insincere, powerless and spiritually dead. Or even worse, they'll be sharp, cutting, unkind and cold, because they don't come from a surrendered heart that's overflowing with God's LOVE!

Man loving his wife

Your tone of voice can't have love or sweetness in it if there's no sweetness or love in your HEART. There'll be an emptiness, a hollowness, and people will be able to sense it. Jesus teaches that our words reveal the characters of our hearts.--How TRUE that is! WHATEVER the quality of your heart, it will be reflected in your words. If your SOUL is shallow, superficial, egotistical and mean, all those qualities are going to permeate your WORDS as they flow from your lips.

But if the HOLY SPIRIT has possession of your heart, the words spoken will be clear, kind and filled with love and light! There will be no deceit, sham or double meaning. Your words will have a magnetic drawing quality, and a rare warmth that will draw others to them. And when your heart is on fire with Jesus' Love, you don't need to TRY to put tenderness or sympathy into your voice. It will just BE there naturally! Your words will have a divine spark of life and power in them that can only come from the inner depths of the Holy Spirit living within you!

The Bible says, "A man has joy in giving an apt reply, and a word spoken in due season (just at the right time), how GOOD it is!"--Proverbs 15:23. And, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver!"--Proverbs 25:11. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to spontaneously speak words of love and encouragement and helpfulness to those who need them at just the right moment and just the right way, with lasting effect? Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to speak words of faith and comfort that will be eternally written in others' memories and bear an abundance of good fruit in their lives?--Then just open your heart to JESUS, yield yourself completely to Him, and ask Him to come in and fill you with His Holy Spirit!

Then read His WORD, the BIBLE, and bury the most beautiful, loving and profound Words in the World deep into your heart so that they will be able to flow forth upon others! Then you're BOUND to speak with love because "God IS Love!"--1John 4:8. "He who believes in Me, out from his innermost being, streams and rivers of LIVING WATER shall flow continuously!"--John 7:38. Such wonderful words of life and love flow from the tongue of the one who has surrendered his heart to Jesus!--Have YOU?

Copyright © 1997 by The Family

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James Arendt
James Arendt

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