The currents of discontent flow through the nooks and crevices of our society. Dams of opposition are built to stop the tides of diversity. Acceptance of each other’s opinions and beliefs has given way to rejections based upon what we are told to be true. Free thought and expression has given way to metered points of dialogue. There is so much adoption of false information that when a person is called upon to give account of what he believes, he has a hard time sharing what are his own beliefs. It used to be that people could disagree with one another in a civil manner, but today, if there is a conflict of opinions, it becomes a civil war.
One of the areas of debate in our country is the issue of Gun Control. Every time there is a shooting, the Gun Control advocates “jump the gun” and claim that guns are the problem. They propose that laws be passed to limit or even ban the sale and possession of guns. There is no doubt that discussions need to take place, but it needs to be addressed with responsible minds and hearts. People need to listen with their ears, and not their eyes. Whatever the issues, let Americans address them with an open heart and mind, and be willing to share what they truly believe, instead of sharing what they have been told to believe.
As our Country deals with the gun control issue, the Church needs to deal with another issue - the tongue. If there is ever a time churches need to address the issue of “Tongue Control,” it is now. The negative effects of a loose tongue have destroyed or maimed countless numbers of Christians, not to mention the negative effect that it has on those outside of the Faith. Pastors need to make tongue control a top priority. Gossip, backbiting, criticism, complaining, sarcasm, fault finding, judgment, and the like have done more damage to the Body of Christ, than practically anything else. I have witnessed Christians fleeing their church in search of a “sanctuary church” where they could be free from the “assault” tongue.
James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote in his epistle that the tongue is “unruly and evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8) As one reads James chapter three, one immediately becomes cognoscente of the fact that James is addressing the words spoken by Believers that identify where they are spiritually. He wonders how someone can bless God and then curse with the same tongue. He wonders how a spring of water can have both fresh and bitter water at the same time. How can it yield both salty and fresh water? James states that “these things should not be.” (James 3:10) The uncontrolled tongue is not a respecter of persons. It can be used against other Believers, as well as identifying who they really are to the unsaved.
James, writing through the tutorage of the Holy Spirit, explains that “no man can tame the tongue,” (James 3:8) so how should we address “Tongue Control?” There are many Scriptures that address this issue, but let me center on just a couple. Ask God to “Set a guard, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3) One can’t tame the tongue, but a surrendered tongue can be guarded so that the uncontrolled tongue can be held in check. You can petition for Devine help by declaring, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight.” (Psalm 19:14) You can practice what James taught: “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak…” (James 1:19) Before you open your mouth, pause and let the Holy Spirit catch up, so that what you say will flow like fresh water from the Holy Spirit River. (John 7:37, 39) Remember that “life and death are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21) Speak life assuring words and watch the blossoming of life grow in others around you.