An unknown poet wrote: ‘A careless word may kindle strife; a cruel word may wreck a life. A bitter word may hate instil; a brutal word may smite and kill. A gracious word may smooth the way; a joyous word may light the day. A timely word may lessen stress; a loving word may heal and bless.’
The Bible says, ‘No man can tame the tongue’ (James 3:8 NKJV).
‘Well, if it can’t be done,’ you ask, ‘how am I supposed to do it?’
By pausing before you speak, cultivating a sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit within you and drawing on His power. By reminding yourself that once a word has left your lips it can never be taken back, and all the ‘I’m sorrys’ in the world won’t alter that.
The psalmist, who’d evidently made the mistake of talking when he should’ve been listening, wrote: ‘I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue.’ In the Bible, abstaining from food for a period of time is called ‘fasting’. It has a spiritually cleansing effect. It draws us closer to God. It strengthens and sharpens us.
So here’s an idea for you: how about going on a verbal fast for the next thirty days?
At least a partial one. Isaiah said, ‘The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary’ (Isaiah 50:4 NLT). Instead of your tongue doing the leading and you doing the following, let your mouth become Spirit-guided.
‘I will…not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue.’ Psalm 39:1 NLT