Taming the Tongue
The Lord has been teaching me about self-control, in the form of what comes out of my mouth. I tend to be a bit harsh if I am not carefully constructing my words because I am not guarding that very sharp sword. I have found there are many seasons the Lord has brought me through this part of sanctification and I still have growth that needs to happen in this area. However, no matter how many times I may regress or word vomit my feelings, James 3:2-10 always seems to come back to my mind on the idea of how-to tam our wild tongues. If you are no familiar with James 3 it speaks about how the smallest things can cause extraordinary destruction as well as extraordinary blessing. But it is all held together in how we tame our tongues.
“For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.” James 3:1-10, ESV.
This passage comes to mind quite often as a part of parenting surprisingly. My son is 5 and he started Kindergarten, as part of their lessons they are learning to use kind words and tones. Part of this is being what they call a “Bucket Filler” – being someone who says nice things to others, and it causes their emotional bucket to be filled. Do I think the term bucket filler is a bit granola? Yes, however, I think the concept is key! We must understand that what we say causes destruction or blessing, you are either filling someone up or draining them. The Lord’s timing is funny because my sweet husband has been saying this to me for years and I’ve always agreed but still struggled with it. And sometimes things just do not really hit home until they are said from your 5-year-old son! We were walking to the car after work last week and he had said something to me and I immediately thought, hmm that just filled my bucket! I made sure to tell him he had done that and in a circular way, we both had just blessed each other in a small way, by receiving a compliment and then expressing how much that compliment meant back to the giver.
If we keep a Biblical mindset of being a “bucket Filler” then I believe that the Holy Spirit will guide and gives us the right things to say in every situation. We must just be willing to stop and pray and think before we shoot from the hip any old words because you never know how they will be received. Because James 3 is a way of life, you are either guiding and leading your tongue or it is guiding and leading you. We must understand our bodies are intricate and so wonderfully knitted together by our creator, but our tongues are loose cannons if we are not decisively in the word and taking back control over it and giving that control over to the Lord.
I pray that you would join me in waking up daily to ask God to control the words that I say and that I would be a blessing not a curse over His people and more specifically my family. Let’s allow the Scriptures to move us and change us to be closer image bearers of the Lord.