Jms. 1:26 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless,” (Jms. 1:26).
Wow! A bridle would keep the tongue under control. I cannot say that my tongue is under control at all times. I want it to be, but I will look back over a conversation and realize that, once again, I spoke carelessly or unkindly about something or someone and I am ashamed. The damage is done. Words cannot be unsaid. Explanations can be attempted. I can apologize sincerely. But those feathers cannot be pushed back into the pillow.
I can repent and ask for strength from God to bridle my tongue more successfully. I find great comfort in Psa. 139:4 “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.” And so I pray, “Father, make me aware of the inappropriateness or the downright sinfulness of my words before they reach my tongue and I speak them. I want to be obedient with my words.”
The problem goes much deeper than the tongue because words originate in the heart, they arise from the attitudes I hold about that person or that situation. When the tongue is unbridled it is because the heart is deceived. I know that the attitude of my heart is the real problem, resulting in spoken words from my unbridled tongue. So my prayer includes a request that God change my heart toward that person or that situation so my words will be kind and acceptable in his sight.
If my tongue is out of control it demonstrates that my heart is deceived and my religion is worthless! “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips,” (Ps. 114:3).