There are many verses we could read about the tongue and I’ve listed them below for you to look up on your own. Today’s verse describes the tongue in a two-fold manner. It discusses the proper and improper uses of the tongue.
I’ve been on the receiving end of someone who spoke like the piercing of a sword. Let’s picture this sword for a moment. A sword’s purpose brings injury or death. It serves no other purpose, except if one uses it as a trophy for show. It is proper that this verse would compare the tongue to a sword. How many times have you been cut by words spoken by an angry person? How many times have those words cut so deeply that you have found it difficult to forgive a person? We have all been there at some point. Does this justify the person’s use of their tongue like a sword? Not at all.
As the first part of today’s text brings harm and/or death, the latter brings health. Good health is such a blessing, isn’t it? No pains, no sicknesses – we cherish each day that we can get up and not feel a twinge! A wise tongue is the same as good health according to the Scriptures. The words of a wise person help another to good health – not in the physical sense but in the emotional and spiritual sense.
What condition is your tongue today? In actuality, your tongue will be in the same condition as your heart. You can fool people into thinking you are super spiritual but when a situation arises where your temper takes hold, your spiritual condition will come shining through. My Sunday School teacher shared something that happened to him. A solicitor came to his door when he was in a hurry to leave for a doctor’s appointment. He had told the solicitor that he could return that evening when he would have time to sit and talk to him. However, the solicitor was adamant and kept up with his sales pitch. After several attempts to stop the solicitor, my teacher slammed the door in the solicitor’s face. He felt so badly afterwards because he had not shown more restraint and apologized to the solicitor when he returned that evening.
Do you come bearing health to some and a sword to others? Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? (James 3:11) It should not be so for believers. We should have sweet water all the time. Our words should bring health to others all the time. If bitter water flows from our mouths and our words cut like a sword, can we honestly say we are walking with the Lord? A person who reacts this way with his tongue is one who is not yielded to the Holy Spirit of God.
Have you been hurt by someone’s words? Have they cut you deeply? Remember where those words came from. This hurtful person could be lost as lost can be. If so, they are doing a great job serving their father, the devil. He is the epitome of self centeredness and they have learned from him well. It helps to understand why they are the way they are. It does not take the pain away, but it sure does help you focus your thoughts on why they have a need to hurt you. Give God the glory and move on. If this person is a born-again Christian, they are not yielded to the Holy Spirit in their lives. Forgive this brother and pray for an opportunity to help this brother in this area. Pray for a peaceful time where you can share how the comments hurt you. If this brother is repentant and won, this is a blessing and you have exhorted this brother to righteousness. If this brother is unrepentant and uses his tongue as a sword once again, we are commanded in Matthew 18:22 to forgive our brother (another believer) as many times as it takes. Then ask the Holy Spirit to give you exactly what you need to love this brother the way God loves him.
A sword produces bleeding, wounds and scars. The one on the receiving end will never be the same because wounds leave scars. Can we who have been wounded recover? Absolutely! How? By yielding our tongue to the control of the Holy Spirit. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. (Jam 3:13) (Emphasis mine) When we are in the Scriptures seeking after knowledge and wisdom, we will put to practice what we have learned and show forth good conversation. Is it easy? No, it is not. Is it do-able? Yes it surely is! I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13
This is yet another burden to lay at the Saviour’s feet, my friend. We are not alone in our struggles but we have each other – the brothers and sisters in Christ who can exhort us unto righteousness and pray for us. Praise the Lord for being a part of this wonderful family. Christ died for each of us, while we were yet sinners! If anyone had reason to be offended by the tongues of man, it was He.
Extra Verses on the Tongue:
Prov. 15:1, 4, 23
Prov. 16:24, 28
Prov. 18:8, 13, 21
May my tongue be controlled
Each day as I yield to You
Help the living waters flow
So others may see the Truth