Your Tongue: Tool or Weapon? 406. Sept 22, 2022



KEY SCRIPTURE James 3:13

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.


APPLICATION

(I gave a group a talk on "Words" a few nights ago, and these are the skeletal notes. They remind us that we live in a fallen world needing repair, and we, too, are fallen.)


WE NEVER SEE THE TARGET A MAN AIMS FOR IN LIFE; WE ONLY SEE THE TARGET HE HITS! (Author unknown)


At the Tower of Babel, God turned one language into many. Scripture says he confused them, which He clearly did, as we cannot understand anyone from another country unless they're westerners. Regardless of the different languages, everybody in every country is affected by words. With words, we either build or deconstruct lives.


Do You VALUE your words?

We all value money and other assets, but what price do we place on our words? After all, in many instances, they are as important as anything on earth. For example, what price is a broken relationship? Or a ruined job?


Often, we choose to blurt out words without care, laying the axe to the tree again—to the relationship one time too many and wonder what happened. There is no repairing a tree that has fallen. We CHOOSE what comes out of our mouths! We choose the pace and volume, as well as the anger, abuse and destruction.


Then at other times, we also choose not to say the first thing that comes to our minds. We choose to think about it well, saying things thoughtfully. When we choose the behaviour, we also choose the consequences.


DO WE THINK OF THE CONSEQUENCE BEFORE WE SPEAK?

Sometimes we don’t care about consequences. We WANT TO SAY IT! However, God sees that pathway as simplemindedness. On the other hand, wisdom recognises and avoids words, actions, and attitudes that could bring undesirable aftereffects.


Results follow events. Yet, unlike a horserace, wisdom allows us to predict the results of our speech and choose words more carefully. It will enable us to stay away from trouble. Proverbs 15:2 “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge the right way: but the mouth of fools pour out foolishness.” There is a wise saying, that words are like emptying a pillow of feathers into a breeze, then trying to retrieve them and get them back in the bag. It's impossible.


Talk Less, See More. Inattention to those around us can be foolish. When we don’t read between the lines, wrong words and painful insults fall uncontrolled from our mouths. While we think we might be affecting someone else, reckless words jeopardise our reputation.


TAKE 5: Think Before You Speak. Take 5 is a simple workplace safety system we can use to control our mouths. Stop for five seconds, look around and read the play, predicting the result. Then speak.

Is it the right time or place?

Is it worth saying?

Will this hurt someone?

Does this eventually hurt me?


Proverbs 3:21-24 identifies the adornments and benefits of control. My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: so shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shall you walk in your way safely, and your foot shall not stumble. When you lie down, you shall not be afraid: yes, you shall lie down, and your sleep shall be sweet.


Do You use your words as tools or weapons? Are they the snakes or ladders on the board game?

God gave us words for tools and weapons, but which do we use more often? The biblical Sword of the Spirit is a weapon to be used wisely against spiritual enemies, which is Godly. Yet, we turn our tongue into an ungodly weapon that hurts souls. When we indiscriminately use words as weapons for an improper purpose, we also get injured. Upon reflection, we walk away, nursing the pain of our stupidity.


With just a few seconds of prior thought, we can change results.

  • Be careful not to say things that could spark a fight or argument.

  • Refrain from words that discourage others.

  • Help one another remember to think before speaking.

  • Avoid negative body language and terms that criticise and dishonour.

  • Foresee the cost of our words long before we say them.

People, including us, have a long way to go in this short life. We all need encouragement. Speaking is a God-given privilege. As believers, our words can and should mimic our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Instead of deconstructing people's worth by 'ripping into them', let's use care, adding Godly wisdom that builds excellence. So that after speaking with us, people feel valued? We've added interest to a person's life.


PRAYER

Dear Lord, I've never considered speaking a privilege. It's oddly unifying that all nations and languages suffer the same problems with the tongue. The Apostle James' message in Chapter 3 on the destructiveness of wrong words indeed can be translated into any language, and those people will understand it. Please help me become a master controller of my words, knowing how to employ wisdom in each conversation.

Photo by Merch Husey