Power of the Tongue

By: Pedro Silva

For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. – James 3:7-9

When I searched the word “tongue” in the Bible I was surprised to see how many entries there were—just short of 170. That’s almost four times more than the word “religion.” And in the first chapter of James, the tongue and religion are directly tied together when James suggests that if someone believes they are religious but cannot bridle their tongue, then their religion is worthless. Now on the surface that may sound harsh. But when you consider that the Wisdom teachings of the Hebrew people taught them that life and death were in the tongue and that the tongue rules the mind, it makes sense that James would declare such a thing.

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about the responsibility that people of influence have in terms of what they say. Anyone who has been an older sibling or a parent can probably understand that point. That’s something that ministers are also taught. However, while I agree that parents, politicians, teachers, and preacher should be mindful of their tongues, I also believe that every person is a person of influence. Therefore, learning how to honor the gift of life and death that we have been trusted with is vital for all of us.

In 2018, it seems like that wisdom has fallen by the wayside. Turn on the news and you will see people speaking a lot of death. Of course, most of them are the people we deem “people of influence” and so we often feel like we are limited in our ability to speak life. That is not the case. In every moment, each of us has the option to speak life into every situation that we encounter and in so doing, we influence the world around us. So, my prayer for me and for all of us is that we not only watch what we say, but that we create a vision for what we say so that our words are words of life.

Word Who Is God,

Thank you for trusting us with your power to speak life. Remind us that we not only have power over the words we choose, but also over the meaning we give the words we hear. And create in us a vision for our words, so that we can be intentional influences in our world. Amen.

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