One of the greatest “perks” of working on campus is the opportunity I have to attend chapel three days a week. I love going so much. It’s a wonderful time of corporate worship and a chance to hear the Word of God spoken. God has blessed so many men with the ability to preach the Bible with such clarity and with such passion. Listening to them preach, I am struck with the power of the tongue. The power it has to heal or to hurt, to impart wisdom or folly, to stir hearts, or call to action.
A very well known Proverb says:
A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,
But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. Proverbs 15:1&2
I googled (yes, people still google things. I hear there’s an app for that) the keywords “taming the tongue” and found that according to the website openbible.info there are at least seventy-four verses just addressing taming the tongue. That does not count all the times the Bible references using the tongue for words of praise. Those are simply the negative uses of one’s tongue.
We are all too quick to release from our mouths whatever our brain conjures up. Especially in today’s society of technology, when social media makes it easy as pie to tap out whatever we want to say in just seconds for the whole world to see.
It’s not just necessarily evil things. Sometimes it’s just complaining. The Bible says,
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Philippians 2:14-16
I admit it, I’m a complainer. You can ask my mother. I can remember vividly through my childhood/teen years having conversations about my complaining. Actually scratch that, I’m a griper. I can gripe about a sunshiney day if only given the chance. So taming my own tongue in this area is a struggle for me. It has recently occurred to me further that
complaining okay okay griping can damage relationships. For example, I gripe about our kitchen never being clean. It seems harmless because it’s about the dishes, but it causes a strain on my relationship with my husband because we share household duties such as dishwashing. When I gripe, it sounds like I’m putting blame on him for not having dishes washed. Make sense?
So if we aren’t supposed to use our tongues to complain, what on earth are we supposed to do with them? According to the Bible,
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. Psalm 63:3-5
So let’s not waste our time. My challenge to myself, and therefore my challenge to you, is to make an effort stop the griping. To instead spend our words praising the Lord. To use our tongue for God’s glorification, not to His shame. Are you with me?