Day 82 – Tame the tongue

I read this last night:

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life;
    he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

That comes from Proverbs 13, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Not just because I feel I can be obnoxious, but also as a writer. As it turns out, there are people who read this blog and take it seriously. I’m continually amazed by that — don’t you people realize who I am? — and also challenged by it. If I am so bold as to write about God’s Word, then by extension I must carry the burden of striving to tell the truth.

That’s no guarantee of success, mind you. God is fully aware that I will misrepresent His Word in some way. My prayer is that I don’t do it intentionally, and even then, that I repent and grow afterward.

Solomon’s words aren’t hard to understand. This isn’t a parable of Christ or the profound logic of Paul. It’s simple.

James says something quite similar to Solomon in James 3:

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. 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.

The words we say can harbor good or evil. They can empower and encourage or weaken and dismay. We can edify or tear down. This responsibility does fall heavier on pastors, I suppose, but the lay Christian isn’t free of the task here.

I distinctly remember in January this passage coming up in Sunday School. It hit me as hard as any passage has in recent memory. I pray it has taken effect.

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