Tongue Lashing!

In our family worship this morning Shan chose James 3 as our text.  OUCH!  I know it’s lengthy but, here is a chunk out of the passage.

James 3:3-12

If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs?  Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”

I don’t know about anyone else but, this is a very challenging passage to my heart and soul.  Forgive me if I’m wrong but, I honestly feel that women struggle with the tongue more than men.  We do talk 4x more than they do!(approx.)  I have been struggling with my tongue since I could say, “ma-ma”.

-When I was young it would get me in BIG trouble.  I would sass my mama and get in a heap of trouble.

-When I was a teenager…well, it was even worse.  Man, I had some zingers!  Back then, I was proud of those zingers but, now I see them for what they truly were.

-As a wife, oh man.  There are so many times when my speech is used for evil.  I discourage instead of build up.  I question the authority of my husband instead of submitting to his leadership of our home.  I wound instead of using words that could help heal.

-As a mom…I am struggling.  I am short with my words.  I can be unkind to those who I am called to love unconditionally.  I am harsh when I should be gentle.  I use angry words instead of the right calm, quiet answer.

So, this passage hit home this morning.  Without God…I can do nothing.  The tongue cannot be tamed by me…or you!

The tongue can only be tamed or controlled by the Holy Spirit’s doing.

So, I want some input.  How do you personally work on your speech to make it holy?  What verses do you cling to and hide in your heart?

I am thinking of a speech accountability/challenge if anyone is interested at all.  I need it so I’m thinking maybe others do too.



4 thoughts on “Tongue Lashing!

  1. Great post, Jen! I totally struggle with this. Unfortunately, one of my children in particular tends to hit my nerves just right so she gets the brunt of my bad speech. I know I need to turn this over to God so the Holy Spirit flows out of my mouth, not my fleshly words.

    I would be totally interested in an accountability group! 🙂

  2. I’m in the same boat. And for me, also, it’s one of my children who takes the brunt of my quick, angry words. I am working on it, and it breaks my heart to think of what my words can do to her sensitive spirit…her sweet, loving, sensitive spirit! The worst part of it is that now, at times, I see her reacting to me in the same way I react to her…and I don’t feel like I can correct her behavior, when I am the one who is setting that example! SO, this momma’ is working on it. The scripture that I have been focusing on lately, and the one that, in my life, I feel applies best to this situation is Proverbs 14:1, which says “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” I have it on my bathroom mirror, in hopes that, one day, when I look into that mirror, my life will reflect that verse. 🙂

  3. oh boy. yep. this is so hard. I have kept a few verses around over the years as I have struggled with this: Eph. 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is effective for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen…. Ecc. 7:9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools… (and since out of the overflow of the heart – and mind – the mouth speaks…) Phil. 4:8 whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. I have put index cards with plastic bags on them by my kitchen sink. I have dry erase markered my bathroom mirrors. It continues to be a struggle. And I agree with Jessica I see it come back to me from the mouths of my children and I hate that. It is tone as much as it is word choice, maybe even more than word choice sometimes for me.

  4. Jen . . .

    My tongue is so evil – full of venom. So in need of the spirit of Christ each minute – there are times I have literally put my hand over my mouth because what was about to come out, was not edifying at all – and I have even noticed my tone is terrible when I talk with my hubby at times.

    So, a constant reminder of the holiness of Christ and my desperate need of His help each minute is where I go in my heart. There is nothing good within me apart from Him – if I do talk well to my children and to my husband it is because He enabled me for that moment to be filled with His goodness. It takes mental practice every day for my heart to continue on this way.

    Loved your post – words so challenging and good to remember!!

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