“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. 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.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue, we praise our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and saltwater flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” (James 3:5-12 NIV)
Needless to say, the tongue is powerful. What we say can destroy relationships, create situations of grave consequences and destroy someone’s spirit. Toxic self-talk that is laced with negativity, fear and unhappiness can even kill our own spirits.
This is why it’s so important to spend consistent time with God. Without a constant focus on God, without a constant renewal of our spirits through quiet time, without prayer and worship, the possibility of saying hurtful words is heightened.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,
keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”
(Proverbs 15:1-4 NIV)
Together, let’s practice being mindful of the words we use by being quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:19-20 NIV)