By Dr hank Lindstrom
Have you given much thought to your tongue? Do you look often at your tongue in the mirror? Do you go on shopping trips for your tongue in the mall? Do you diet to get your tongue back in shape?
Is your tongue beautiful? Or is it ugly? Of course, we are not talking about its physical beauty. Although the tongue is small, it is one of the most important members of the body. Even though the tongue is small, it has tremendous influence.
James 3:3-5 says, “Behold, we put bits into horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” Just like the rudder of a great ship can change the direction of the entire vessel, the tongue can greatly affect things.
The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” The tongue can lead a person to Christ. The tongue can lead a person away from Christ. The tongue can bring praise and honor to God, or the tongue can blaspheme and curse God. The tongue can win friends or lose them. The tongue must be brought under control if it is to be a beautiful tongue. And that is not easy! In fact, the Bible says that no man can tame the tongue. Without the Lord’s help, it is impossible to tame or control the tongue.
James 3:7,8 says, “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” Animals of all kinds have been tamed according to the Bible, but the tongue no man can tame. The power of God’s Holy Spirit can enable us to control our tongues.
An interesting example is the Apostle Peter. The night that Jesus was betrayed, Peter cursed and swore that he did not know Jesus Christ. Matthew 26:74 says, “Then began he to curse and to swear, saying I know not the man…” Here we have Peter using profanity to emphasize the fact that he did not know the Lord. Amazingly, we have the same man, Peter, who sinned with his tongue before Calvary, after the resurrection using his tongue under the control of the Holy Spirit to glorify the Lord by preaching the gospel.
Jesus promised, “But ye shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…(Acts 1:8).” The power had to do with the tongue in particular as we learn in Acts 1:8 which says, “…and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, the first object on earth that it used was the tongue! The disciples began to speak in languages that would be understood by the foreign Jews who were visiting in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost. Simon Peter, who had earlier cursed and sworn before a servant girl while denying Christ, got up and gave a message under the control of the Holy Spirit. Three thousand people responded and were saved as a result (Acts 2:41).
Your tongue can become a thing of real beauty through the power of the Holy Spirit. Under your own power, the Bible says that no man can achieve victory over his tongue. We all need the Lord’s help!
There is some good advice in God’s Word concerning the tongue. James 1:19 says, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” We often need to put the brakes on our tongue and be silent. The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” Let’s look at some verses in Proverbs: Proverbs 17:27,28 says, “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understand is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Being “slow to speak” but “swift to hear” is good advice.
Gossip is one of those sins that is forbidden throughout the Word of God. “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the Lord (Leviticus 19:16).” God will judge the sin of gossip. The Bible says, “An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire. A froward man soweth strife; and a whisperer separateth chief friends (Proverbs 16:27,28).”
“The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly (Proverbs 18:8).” Gossip can deeply wound and hurt its targets. Some good advice from God’s Word is found in Philippians 4:8. Is it true? Is it honorable? Is it just? Is it pure? Is it lovely? Is it gracious? If it passes all these tests, then pass it on. But if it doesn’t, it should not be shared. Even if something is true, we must still apply the test of love. It is usually at this point that our conversation often “flunks out”. No one can gossip about someone else and truly love that person at the same time.
No doubt about it! The gossip keeps a fire going! “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth (Proverbs 26:20).”
Our tongue can be used to bring the gift of eternal life to a lost person (Romans 6:23). In fact, we are commanded to do so in Mark 16:15, “…go ye into all the world and preach (tell) the gospel to every creature.” A witnessing tongue is a beautiful tongue.
Peter, the apostle, experienced this joy on the day of Pentecost having led three thousand people to Christ. Have you been using your tongue to glorify the Lord? Has your tongue brought the good news of Christ to a lost person? Is your tongue kind and considerate? Is it a compassionate, loving tongue? Maybe you could enhance the beauty of your tongue.
“Speak not evil one of another, brethren…(James 4:11).”