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Taming the Tongue (8 of 11)
On a windswept hill in an old English churchyard stands a slate tombstone. The elements almost have erased the inscription, but one barely can make out the epitaph: "Beneath this stone, a lump of clay, lies Arabella Young, who, on the twenty-fourth of May, began to hold her tongue." During that period many tombstones bore statements of truth. What epitaph would state the case of our speech? Obviously, Arabella had difficulty taming her tongue.
The Bible makes the control of the tongue a matter of great importance. Jesus said, "For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matt. 12:37). The books of Proverbs and the Psalms are full of exhortations on the tongue. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21). "He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity" (Prov. 21:23). "Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies" (Ps. 34:12-13).
There are also many statements about the positive impact that the tongue can make. "The tongue of the righteous is choice silver" (Prov. 10:20). And "The tongue of the wise brings healing" (Prov. 12:18). James gave more attention to the dangers of the tongue than any other New Testament writer. In every chapter James says something about the tongue, but it is in chapter three that he gives his fullest discussion on the subject. It's been stated that nothing is opened more by mistake than the mouth. Here in this section is a vivid description of the problems and the power of the tongue. James warns us, "don't let your tongue be your undoing." What does
God say about the tongue?
1. The Tongue in Teaching (3:1-2)
"Teachers" were and are very important and in the early church the office of teacher offered a person respect and prominence and authority. And this was a temptation for some. The idea here is that so ...
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