Remember the old adage, 'Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me'. One of the earliest citations of it is from an American periodical, The Christian Recorder, March 1862. I appreciate the sentiment, but words can do some damage too (in my opinion).
The Bible tells us in the Book of James, “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 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.” (James 3:7–9 ESV)
Matthew Henry comments– “we should learn to make the due management of our tongues more our study, because, though they are little members, they are capable of doing a great deal of good or a great deal of hurt.”
The problem, of course, is not just the tongue; but the heart. It is easy to have“bitter envying and strife” in our hearts (James 3:14). “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man”(Matt. 15:18). “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life”(Prov. 4:23). As we fill our hearts with God’s Word, and yield to the Holy Spirit, He can use us to bless others, and we will be refreshing fountains and trees. Here are three applications.
1. Get a new heart
"Rid yourself of all the offenses you have committed and get a new heart and anew spirit!"
An old saying reminds us, “Painting the outside of the pump doesn't make any difference if there is poison in the well.” So, how do I get a new heart? 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new person. The old has passed away. Behold all things have become new."
We need to pray like David prayed in Psalm 51 "Create in me a clean heart, O God" because what's in my heart is going to come out in my mouth.
2. Ask God for help every day
We need supernatural power to control the tongue. We all stumble in our speech;we sin. (James 3:2). Man cannot tame his own tongue.
A Prayer: Psalm 141:3 "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips."
3. Think before speaking
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." -James 1:19
“Twelve Words That Can Begin to Transform Our Speech.”
- “Please” and “Thank you.”
- “I’m sorry.”
- “I love you.”
- “I’m praying for you.”
Your brother in Jesus,