Jms. 3:7-8 “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
The most universal sin is verbal sin, the hardest to resist, the most pervasive throughout humanity. What God through James is telling us here is that we do not possess the ability within ourselves to control our tongue. We simply cannot do it.
The power of God at work within an individual provides the only ability to bring the tongue under control. Although verbal sin is so easy to commit, it can wreak terrible (deadly poisonous) havoc.
In conversation with a friend recently we explored the subject of humor and how it can be so hurtful when applied in order to get a laugh at the expense of another. You’ve experienced it aimed at you and you’ve heard it directed at others. Maybe “just kidding” was tacked on the end, as though that took the poison out of it. Mark Lee, past president of Simpson Bible College, wrote a book with a catchy title, Humor is No Laughing Matter, teaching the importance of using humor wisely.
My tongue is always the weakest link in my spiritual armor. What goes in as well as what comes out. Eating appropriately is an on-going battle for me – portion control, desserts, caffeine. But this passage of scripture is addressing what comes out. I struggle with that, too.
I can be so snarky with my husband sometimes and I just hate it. When I recently talked it over with the Lord in prayer, Psalm 139:4 came to mind, “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.” I prayed, “Good! Then would you please stop me before those harsh tones come forth off my tongue?”
It was almost audible, the reply I received from the Lord. “The problem here is not your tongue, it’s your heart. You really feel you are superior to him in those situations. It is arrogance that comes forth in your tone of voice.”
Ouch! So, so, so true! “Change my heart, O God. Make it ever true. Change my heart, O God. Make me more like you! Return to me the appreciation I need for him, the respect. I repent of my ugly arrogance. I don’t want to feel that way toward him, nor do I want to sound that way to him.”
I have no power within myself to control my tongue, let alone my heart. I need the power of God and it IS available to me. Praise him!!