But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water.
James 3:8-11 (English Standard Version)
Have you ever been driving and someone cuts you off without warning? Or have you ever been waiting in line at the store checkout and the person in front of you decides to pay for something using exact change using small change? For many of us these questions are rhetorical because all of us at one time experienced something like these. What was your initial response to these scenarios? If we are honest with ourselves we usually would have feelings of impatience or we may say something inappropriate under our breath concering the person who offended us. For many of us, this comes naturally; however for those who are followers of Christ, we must go beyond what comes naturally and do what is unnaturally in such situations. The unnatural thing to do is to display patience and hold our tongues. Why do Christians have to live like this, if they are forgiven of all thier sins what does it matter what we say?
Our bodies do not come initially as strong or perfect. If that was the case then there would be no need for salvation. Even though followers of Jesus are saved through thier faith in Him, we are not yet strong or perfect. Evidence of this can be seen in the way we talk to one another. There are times when we are kind and courteous and other times we say things that are hostile and evil. James writes that the tongue (the way we talk) can’t be tamed and is full of deadly poison. However the tongue is not the source but is only a tool which the heart uses to express itself. Therefore what we say can reflect the spiritual condition of our heart and soul.
If we say hurtful things, it is because our heart has wounds in it spiritualy and instead of giving them up to God so He could heal them, we hold on to them letting them fester until they poison us to the point that it overflows into our speech. Therefore we need to examine ourselves and see what aspects of our lives that we have not let go and given to God. For to speak curses and blessings as a believer in Christ is unnatural and must not be.
So what is it in our hearts that causes us to talk the way that we do? It could be feelings of impatience that could be fueled by the belief of entitlement; I mean “How dare someone cut you off in traffic, don’t they know who I am?”…..actually they don’t. Maybe its feelings of insecurity or doubt that turns into frustration and anger at people who inadvertently fuel those feelings. We assume people know what we are thinking, but the truth is, they are clueless about you as you are with them.
It is only when we let God in, can the wounds in our heart be healed. This process will be painful, like pulling a scab, but once it is done relief would feel so wonderful and it will be shown in the way we talk. The way we talk as believers also serves as a witness to nonbelievers as well. Those who don’t know Christ are watching us very carefully to see if we are any different than they are. So the next time someone cuts you off in traffic and someone is with you, instead of cursing the offender, forgive them. This will not be easy, it will truly be an exercise of our faith in God; but if we persevere, the rewards are worth it and we bring honor to ourselves and to God.