It was a wise person who said: “Keep your words soft and tender because tomorrow you may have to eat them.” Have you ever choked on some words that you spoke too rashly? Have you ever regretted hitting the “send” button on a verbal missile launched in cyberspace? Have you ever used your words as a weapon? Chances are, each of us can think of times when we have done all of the above. We quickly learn that ill-chosen words are never palatable as leftovers.
James certainly knew what he was talking about when he described our tongue as one of the most dangerous and unmanageable parts of our bodies. “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” (James 3:8-10).
The Bible has much counsel regarding what to say as well as when and how to say it. “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). “He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:27). “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 29:20).
Having a sharp tongue is not a virtue. Verbal abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse. Although it is difficult, it is always best to “let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth…” (Ephesians 4:29). We may have to bite our tongues. We might have to count to ten. But it sure beats having to choke down unsavory words later. Let’s choose our words carefully!
God loves you!