In the practical little New Testament book, the Letter of James, he admonishes his readers in chapter 3 about the dangers of a loose tongue:

 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.

But no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.”

James continues in Chapter 4:

“Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. Whoever speaks evil against another or judges another, speaks evil against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbor?” 

Our tongues are to be used to praise God and lift up others. 

As the famous Methodist leader and hymn writer Charles Wesley wrote in 1738:

 “O For a thousand tongues to sing my dear Redeemer’s praise!

The glories of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace!

Jesus! The Name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease;

‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears, ‘tis life, and health, and peace.

David Tritenbach is a retired Presbyterian minister. 
 

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