Tame the Tongue

The Abundant Life: Riches money can’t buy…

The abundant life endeavors to master the art of knowing when to speak and when to remain silent. They strive to control their tongues, rather than letting their tongues control them.

Words are powerful tools. They can calm, cheer, and encourage. (Proverbs 12:25) They can also destroy. (Proverbs 18:21) Maybe that’s why David asked God to set a guard over his mouth. (Psalm 141:3)

What we say matters! Even if we apologize for making careless statements to or about others, that does not erase what was said. We cannot strike it from the record or take it back, because people will remember it even if we really didn’t mean it. Spoken words don’t just dissolve into thin air. They live on.

Lawyers know this. Many times they will ask an objectionable question knowing the judge will not allow it. The judge will strike it from the record and instruct the jury not to give it any credibility when rendering a decision, but it will be too late. Lawyers know the jury will remember what is said. They are counting on it because what is said lingers in a person’s mind. Words have a life of their own.

No wonder the Bible speaks about taming our tongues. (James 3) Both David and James use the metaphor of bridling our tongues. (Psalms 39:1, James 1:26) A bridle is a leather harness and bit placed in a horse’s mouth to control it. That might seem a bit drastic to us, but in all honesty some of us could benefit from a built in muzzle that clamps over our mouths when we are about to say something we are going to regret.

As Christians we know the biblical admonitions about not having a flattering tongue (Psalm 5:9), a haughty tongue (Psalm 12:2-4), a lying tongue (Proverbs 25:18), a backbiting tongue (Proverbs 25:23), a tale bearers tongue (Proverbs 18:8), a cursing tongue (Romans 3:13, 14), or a sharp tongue (Proverbs 12:18).

Solomon said to weigh our words carefully. (Ecclesiastes 5:2, 3) James said to think before we speak. (James 1:19) Jesus said what goes into our mouths is not as important as what we say. (Matthew 15:11)

Careless, thoughtless words can be poisonous. (James 3:8) Heartfelt words spoken with kindness, consideration, and love are beautiful. (Proverbs 25:11) Those living the abundant life know this, so they try very hard to tame their tongues.


…I have come that they may have life and that they

may have it more abundantly.” ~John 10:10 (KJV)

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