James 3:7-9 – For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
How many truths are twisted? How many lies are told? How many facts are buried? How many news stories are fake? How many classroom lectures are indoctrination? How many ads are false claims? How many juicy gossip stories are myths? How many social media platforms are throttling good and promoting evil? How many politicians know they are spinning facts rather than serving the Father? How many lawyers generate income by doing what Paul called suppressing the truth? How many PR firms are violating the commands against lying and false witness in favor of building and defending a narrative?
In our world of click-bait and ad revenue cashing in on the emotions of anger and fear, loving God with all our tongue is like fighting gravity.
James’ point is that the communication that comes out of us starts deep in us. Like a bullet that is fired, or fire that is started, once a word is spoken, we can’t take it back. While we may not attack someone with our fists, our words can still cause major damage even from far away. Our tongue can speak blessing and cursing, life and death. In Luke 6:45, Jesus tells us our mouth speaks about what ultimately fills our heart. A haughty heart speaks evil, a holy heart speaks life. Like water that comes from a spring, Jesus was clear that the words we communicate flow from our hearts and expose our deepest selves.
For our words to change, our heart must first change. Only the Holy Spirit has the power to change who we are and what we communicate. Things are so bad it will take a miracle to accomplish these twin tasks. Thankfully, our God specializes in miracles.
In my own failures in this area, one thing I have noticed is that my first response when I am angry, hurt, frustrated, tired, or offended is in the flesh. If I respond quickly, that response is often not the most godly. If I wait, pray, process, journal, go for a walk, and invite the Holy Spirit to change what’s going on inside of me, I find that something very different comes out of me.
Do you too find that you react in the flesh if you’re tired, frustrated, or offended? Be mindful of this in the future and think before you speak, especially when you’re feeling these ways.