But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. ~James 3:8
Whenever I visit a zoo, I feel a sense of safety – that the animals on display are kept in a rock or cage compound, far enough that they will present no harm to me. These animals are taken from the wild, and their natural inbred instinct is for their own safety. These animals are classified as wild because they cannot be tamed. They cannot be brought into submission to follow commands. This morning, we are looking at a member of the human body that no one can tame. It is a small member of the body, but considered very deadly. This member is the tongue. Let us consider this morning the untamable nature of the human tongue.
We see the CHARACTERISTIC of the tongue.
The tongue is an organ in your mouth that is essential for tasting and eating. It is also essential for speech and talking. In the matter of our speech and talking, James gives it many descriptive names. He calls it a fire and a world of iniquity. He calls it an unruly evil and full of deadly poison. He calls it a little member that has the capability of kindling a great fire. In effect, he says that the tongue cannot be tamed. It is wild and unpredictable. It can be dormant and explode at an unplanned moment. It is not to be taken lightly, and must be guarded ever so carefully.
We see the CONFUSION of the tongue.
The tongue can bless, but it can also curse. The tongue can praise, but it can also be critical. The tongue can build up, but the tongue can also tear down. It can be an instrument to rally people to do something good, but it can also be an instrument to rally people to do evil. It can be inspiring, but it can also be inflammatory. It can make people laugh, but it can also make people cry. The tongue can heal, but the tongue can hurt. The tongue is an unstable, untrustworthy member of our body.
We see the CARNAGE of the tongue.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” When used in a sinful way, the tongue leaves behind a trail of irreversible carnage. It can divide friendships and relationships. It can place a wedge between parents and children. It can create upheaval between husbands and wives. A tongue that is unrestrained can do more long-term damage than any natural disaster. It is set on fire of Hell. It defiles the entire body and sets on fire the whole course of nature. Think of the long-term damage that gossip, whispering, evil speech, and backbiting do. Think of how murmuring resulted in setbacks to Israel. Think of how an angry word embeds itself in an offended person’s memory. Think of how many inflammatory words have led to fights, wars, and the death of another person. As such, the tongue no man can tame.
We see the COUNSEL for the tongue.
The starting point on dealing with our tongue is by dealing with our heart. Whatever comes out of our mouth always starts in our heart. Envy, jealousies, dissatisfaction, and anything else that is unsettling always begins in our heart. James asked, “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.” The three best ways to safeguard our tongue from being unleashed is first to keep our heart with all diligence. Then, it is best to remain silent, and not respond to things that get under your skin. Last, when we need to respond, let us remember that “a soft answer turneth away wrath.”
Say like David, “I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me,” Ps.39:1.
Have a cautious God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Genesis 43-45