Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.James 3:2 (NLT)
Have you ever heard the limerick that goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?” If you haven’t, you missed out. I heard this stated on the playground many times growing up. Somebody would say something mean, and then this would be stated in reply – usually with the replier sticking their tongue out at the other person.
Ah, if only life were true to the lies we believed when we were younger. As we age, we find out very quickly that, indeed, words actually do hurt. In fact, words can hurt us so bad that they create wounds within our lives that can take a very long time to heal.
I’d like to say that as we get older things get better, but I can’t. Even those who are not in elementary school anymore still fire words at others that they know shouldn’t be said.
Have you ever said something that you knew was wrong the instant the words left your mouth? It’s like your brain is screaming at the words, “Come back!!!” But, they don’t once they’ve left their lair, there is no coming back. They are on course for arrival at their new destination, the ears of the person they were fired at.
James, the brother of Jesus, put it like this, “For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” James realized that what we say not only has the ability to damage others, but it also damages ourselves. Those words that pierce the hearer also pierce the one saying them. How? Because it is a sin to speak evil at, or about, someone. And sin, by its very nature, corrupts us from the inside out. The more we participate in sinful behavior, the more corrupt our lives become.
We must learn to control our words. I know, we make jokes about certain people born without a “filter.” However, we often use that as an excuse for objectionable behavior. The reality is, that we each do have the ability to control what we say. The choice is ours. But, we must choose to speak good, to follow the example of Jesus. Speak words of encouragement. Speak words of love. Speak words of truth, not lies. Speak as a representative of the Kingdom of God, not the enemy.