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If any man among you seem to be religious, & bridleth not his tongue,

but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

James 1:26

Christianity & The Tongue

 

As good Americans we've come to believe that we can speak whatever we want, whenever we want, as long as it's 'honest'. Well, all of that should change when you become a Christian. In order to represent Christ properly here on earth, we are required to learn new patterns of speech. The power of the tongue to both destroy & edify is a major topic in both biblical testaments.

 

 As Christ’s ‘bodies on the ground’ part of our Christian job description, if you will, is to speak life & not death. Most of us weren’t trained in this vision from the beginning of our lives. When we experience difficulties, we tend to discuss them as they appear rather than waiting in faithful silence for God to show us the higher purpose. Learning speech that is consistent with a divinely guided life requires that we retrain the heart, the mind & sometimes even visceral body reaction. It certainly is not always easy to master these changes during hard times. Still, it is an aspiration that is fundamental to the Christian walk.

 

Matthew 12:35-37

Christ speaking:

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things:& an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

36-But I say unto you, Thant every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

37-For by thy words thou shalt be justified, & by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

 

Matthew 15:17-20

Christ speaking:

Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?

18-But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

19-For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

20-These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

 

Amos 5:13

Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.

 

Leviticus 19:16

Thou shalt not go up & down as a talebearer among thy people.

 

Proverbs:

Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. 6:2

 

In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. 10:19

 

A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter. 11:13

 

There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health. 12:18

 

He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips hall have destruction. 13:3

 

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: & he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. 17:28

 

A fool’s mouth is his destruction, & his lips are the snare of his soul. 18:7

 

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly & shame unto him.18:13

 

Death & life are in the power of the tongue: & they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. 18:21

 

He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips. 20:19

 

Whoso keepeth his mouth & his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles. 21:23

 

Cast out the scorner, & contention shall go out; yea, strife & reproach shall cease. 22:10

 

A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; & a flattering mouth worketh ruin. 26:28

 

A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards. 29:11

 

Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him. 29:20

 

(on the virtuous woman:)

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; & in her tongue is the law of kindness. 31:26

 

James 3:2-12:

If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, & able also to bridle the whole body.

3-Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; & we turn about their whole body.

4-Behold also the sips, which though they be so great, & are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

5-Even so the tongue is a little member, & boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth.

6-And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue amongst our members, that it defileth the whole body. & setteth on fire the course of nature; & it is set on fire of hell.

7-For every kind of beasts, & of birds, & of serpents, & of things in the sea, is tamed, & hath been tamed of mankind:

8-But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

9-Therwith bless we God, even the Father; & therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

10-Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing & cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

11-Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water & bitter?

12-Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water & fresh.