Watch Your Tongue

By Arlene and Marta

It seems to me that today’s language among children, adolescents and

adults is much different than when I was a child. When I was a child,

offensive language was associated with dirty old men, drunkards, or sailors,

as the saying went, “you curse like a sailor”. Very rarely did I hear a

woman curse and never was the name of Jesus used so loosely as it is today.

Just the other day my children came home from school uttering a word that

I know they had no idea what it meant. To their surprise in my reaction they

asked, “what does that word mean?” I explained it to them, and I begged

them not to use a word they did not know the meaning of.

When I was growing up, we were often told we would get our mouth

washed out if we repeated slang words. Today, I know most individuals do

not know what they are doing or saying. For some it has become

fashionable, to others a habit and they do not really mean to be offensive.

Sadly to say, this language is causing tremendous hurt in the lives of loved

ones, their families and the church.

Besides the language, gossip, lies, complaints and criticisms are other

factors that divide and destroy individuals, families and churches. Put

downs and negative humor brings laughs to many at the cost of

SOMEONE’S pain. I believe policing what comes out of our mouths is one

of the most difficult tasks some of us must face today. We must guard our

tongues, and say only what is uplifting and encouraging for the building up

of the community.

Scripture has a lot to say about the use of our tongues. The following are

just a few:

You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God in vain. For the Lord
will not leave unpunished him who takes his name in vain.
Exodus 20:7

You shall not swear falsely by my name thus profaning the name of your
God. I am the Lord.
Leviticus 19:12

I assure you, on judgment day people will be held accountable for every
unguarded word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted, and by
your words you will be condemned.
Matthew 12:36-37

As for lewd conduct or promiscuousness or lust of any sort, let them not
even be mentioned among you: your holiness forbids this. Nor should there
be any obscene, silly, or suggestive talk; all that is out of place.

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but
deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
James 1:26

Not many of you should become teachers, my brother; you should realize

that those of us who do so will be called to be stricter account. All of us fall

short in many respects. If a person is without fault in speech he is a man in

the fullest sense, because he can control his entire body. When we put bits

in the mouths of horses to make them obey us we guide the rest of their

bodies. It is the same with ships; however large they are, and despite the

fact that they are driven by fierce winds, they are directed by very small

rudders on whatever course the steerman’s impulse may select. The tongue

is something like that. It is a small member, yet it makes great pretensions.

See how tiny the spark is that sets a huge forest ablaze! The tongue is such

a flame. It exists among our members as a whole universe of malice. The

tongue defiles the entire body. Its flames encircle our course from birth, and

its fire is kindled by hell. Every form of life, four-footed or winged,

crawling or swimming, can be tamed, and has been tamed, by mankind: the

tongue no man can tame. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. We use it

to say, “Praised be the Lord and Father”, then we use it to curse men,

though they are made in the likeness of God. Blessing and curse come out
of the same mouth. This ought not to be, my brothers! Does a spring gush

forth fresh water and foul from the same outlet? A fig tree, brothers, cannot

produce olives, or a grapevine figs; no more can a brackish source yield

fresh water.

James 3:1-12

He who cares for life and wants to see prosperous day must keep his tongue
from evil and his lips from uttering deceit.
1 Peter 3:10

Breath and life are in the power of the tongue; those who make it a friend
shall eat its fruit.
Proverbs 18:21

A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse one crushed the spirit.
Proverbs 15:4

He who guards his mouth protects his life; to open wide one’s lips brings
Proverbs 13:3

Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
Proverbs 4:24

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. Pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the
perverse mouth I hate.
Proverbs 8:13

Above all else, my brother, you must not swear an oath, any oath at all
either “by heaven” or “by earth”, rather let it be “yes” if you mean yes and
“no” if you mean no. In this way you will not incur condemnation.
James 5:12

Wicked designs come from the deep recesses of the heart; Acts of
fornication, theft, murder, adulterous, conduct, greed, maliciousness, deceit,
sensuous, envy, blasphemy, arrogance and obtuse spirit. All these evils
come from within and render a man impure. Mark 7:21
That is why I tell you that nobody who speaks in the Spirit of God ever
says, “Cursed be Jesus.” And no one can say: ”Jesus is Lord," except in the
Holy Spirit.
1 Cor 12:3

A fountain of life is the mouth of the just.
Proverbs 10:11

Then I said, “Woe is me; I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips,
living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the
Lord of hosts! Then one of the seraphim flew to me holding an ember
which he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with it.
”See," he said, “now that this has touched your lips; your wickedness is
removed, your sin purged.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying.
Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? “Here I am,” I said: “send me!
And he replied: Go and say to this people...
Isaiah 6:5

Never let evil talk pass your lips; say only the good things men need to
hear, things that will really help them... Get rid of all bitterness, all passion
and anger, harsh words, slander, and malice of every kind. In place of these,
be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God
has forgiven you in Christ.
Ephesians 4:29


First of all repent of our sin and go to confession with a firm resolve not to

sin again. The grace through confession will help us. The next thing to do is

covered in scripture.

Put to death whatever in your nature is rooted in earth; fornication,

uncleanness, passion, evil desires, and that lust which is idolatry. These are

the sins which provoke God’s wrath. Your own conduct was once of this

sort, when these sins were your very life. You must put that aside now: all

the anger and quick temper, the malice, the insults, the foul language. Stop

lying to one another. What you have done is put aside your old self with its

past deeds and put on a new man, one who grows in knowledge as he is

formed anew in the image of his Creator. Col. 3:5:17


Scripture instructs us:

Because you are God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves

with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear

with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one

another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you. Over all these virtues put on

love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect. Christ’s peace;

must reign in your hearts, since as members of the one body you have been

called to that peace. Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness. Let the word of

Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you. In wisdom made perfect, instruct and

admonish one another. Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms,

hymns, and inspired songs. Whatever you do, whether in speech or in

action, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Give thanks to God the Father

through him.

Colossians 3:12-17








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