People have two eyes and two ears. These are used to detect sights and sounds from multiple sources around us. And because our brains can receive, process, store and retrieve such immense amounts of information, the combination of sights and sounds we take in help us navigate the extremely complex environments in which we live (physical, relational, spiritual, etc.).
But we only have one mouth. When we speak, whether our words are good, bad or indifferent, they all come out of the same place. It is impossible for us to completely control our mouths – out of our mouths come good and evil; we praise, we encourage, we criticize, we deceive.
- James 3:8-10 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
The Bible has a lot to say about our mouths and how we use them. Our words can be used to accurately represent or deceivingly misrepresent who we really are (how we feel, what we think, our values, our beliefs, our intentions…). But all our spoken words come out of the same place, the mouth that God made for each of us (Exodus 4:11, Isaiah 44:24).
Why are our words so important?
- Matthew 12:36-37 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
- We will give an account to God for every word we have spoken.
- Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
- Ultimately, when all is said and done, our words reveal our desires, priorities, principles, etc.
- Proverbs 15:1-2 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.
- Our words can bring peace or war – they can educate or confuse.
- Psalm 34:12-14 Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.
- The words we use are one of the aspects of our lives that demonstrate what we value and long for.
Scripture makes clear that followers of Jesus are to live in a way that glorifies our Lord. The way we talk and the things we talk about are just one part of an overall wayof living that should honor Christ and who we are in Him. Here are just a few of the standards found in the Bible about our words:
Improper Uses Include
- Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
- Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- Ephesians 5:3-4 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
- Colossians 3:8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
Proper Uses Include
- Psalm 34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
- Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
- Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
- Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
- Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
- Matthew 5:37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
Above I said, ‘It is impossible for us to completely control our mouths…’ So what hope do we have? We have to look beyond ourselves to tame our words. Controlling our mouths is only possible with God. Through His power, and with the wisdom that comes only from Him, it is possible to mature to the point where we aren't insensitive, inconsiderate, hurtful or harassing with our words.
- Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
- James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
- James 3:2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
- Never as an excuse, but an ever-present reality, living with our sinful flesh results in some level of sinful behavior.
- Galatians 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
- 1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
The process of controlling our words begins with transforming our minds.
- Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
- Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Finally, God knows the heart and condition of each person.
- 1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
- Everything I have written above refers to actually speaking words. Please consider how the same truths apply to what you post, text, email…; even the dialogue in your mind.
- There are many people with emotional, mental or physical issues that may not be able to control what they think or say.
Lord I fail You in many ways. Today I confess and ask forgiveness for all the times I fall short of Your expectations regarding my words. Help me to grow, submit and overcome such that my words reflect the power and presence of Your Words in my life. Thanks for Your patience, understanding and love. In Christ’s precious and powerful name I pray. Amen