You carry a concealed weapon with you every day. It is a deadly weapon that can do great damage. But it is not physical damage this weapon causes. Rather, the weapon we carry wherever we go can do incredible emotional damage.
What is this weapon I am talking about?
The human tongue.
If you have ever been the victim of an insult, a hurtful criticism, or gossip, you’ll understand this to be true. The human tongue can be used to do an immense amount of damage.
There is this book in the Bible called “James,” which is written by none other than… James. Who is James? James is identified as the brother of Jesus Himself…the odds are not in James’s favor for a sibling rivalry. But James becomes an influential leader in the early Church. He writes this book of the Bible as a letter to a group of early Christians. He had a lot to say about how dangerous the human tongue was and is. He said things like:
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” James 1:26
“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” James 3:5-9
“A fire,” “a world of evil,” “a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” This is strong language James uses. But he doesn’t use this strong language for no reason. He uses it to make a point: our words matter. How we use our tongue shows where our heart is. Jesus says something along these lines in Luke 6:45: “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
We live in a very chatty world. So it is easy to not take what James and Jesus are saying seriously. But what if we became more aware of the power our words have?
Am I saying to never speak another word ever again, because if we speak we could be doing damage?
Not at all! For just as the tongue can be used to do damage, it can also be utilized for much good.
Imagine if we used our words to speak life, instead of death. To speak words of grace, truth, and love, rather than contempt, gossip, and hate. Imagine how many people we could bless. Think of the difference we could make in our world if we would daily choose to use our tongues wisely!
So here’s my challenge to you today: use your words today to build up, rather than to bring down. Who is someone in your life right now who could use a little encouragement? Be the one to bless that person today.