September 23, 2020

James 3:8

“..but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”


Most of us think we’re pretty good with our words overall. Oh, sure, we occasionally get off our game and say something not-so-nice or a little hurtful. But that was in a moment of frustration, right? And if we look at the whole situation, it’s not like our words were completely unjustified, right? And was it really all that negative in the first place? These are things we tell ourselves.

I once heard the testimony of a Christian lady who was challenged to go an entire 24-hour day without speaking a single negative word. “Easy!” the lady thought. “I’m a positive person already. Just need to keep an eye out for those few moments of temptation. This won’t be a problem at all.”

Except, she soon found out, it was a problem. Early in the day she got into a casual conversation and caught herself beginning to gossip about a neighbor. No, it wasn’t horrible-level gossip, but when she honestly examined it she found her words definitely weren’t helpful, nor necessary. Not too much later she caught herself subtly complaining about someone else she was annoyed with. As she continued to consider her words throughout the day she simply found them lacking, all too often lacking. Sometimes her words were not even directly negative but still failed to uplift as they might have. 

The woman was so convicted she continued the challenge the next day… and the next… until it just became part of her life. (And, she realized with a laugh, she simply didn’t talk as much as she used to, either!)

The Apostle James calls our tongues a “restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Wow, restless evil? Poison? Isn’t that a bit strong? No, unfortunately, it is not. The Bible warns us that our words, unchecked by grace, can be absolutely poisonous – deadly to those around us and spreading corruption like venom in our veins. Do we really, truly comprehend the danger?

Ask God today to open your eyes anew to your own tongue. When was the last time you examined your own word choices or intentions? Do you strive to build up those around you and cast off the unnecessary words that do not? Perhaps today is a good day for your own 24-hour challenge!

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