Read This: “You must let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for building up the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29)
Think: The conversations in this video sound pretty average. Bad language is so common place it’s not even that shocking anymore. And they had some unkind things to say about some other people, but our culture teaches that everyone is entitled to their opinions—there’s nothing wrong with being honest? But we aren’t accountable to our culture. How do our conversations line up with God’s word? What if you had a script of everything you said last week? A lot of us don’t have to think back very hard to remember at least a few things we wish we’d kept to ourselves.
What comes out of our mouths is rooted in our hearts. Taming the tongue is no small task because it’s not just about cussing. James 3 gives the analogy of a horse that’s guided by the bit in its mouth—a slight tug to the left or the right directs the whole animal. He goes on to liken our mouths to the rudder of a ship, a small tool that sets the course of huge ships. Our words are powerful; they have the potential to be a source of peace and encouragement or to destroy and embitter.
Too often controlling our tongues comes down to what we try not to say, but maybe we’d be better to start focusing on what we should say. What if we asked ourselves, how we can bless people around us by showing them grace in what we say—not just to them but about others? It’s easy to slip into gossip and slanderous talk, but by preserving the integrity of those we’re talking about we show them the kind of love and grace God shows us. By refraining from vulgar language and crude jokes we can help those around us focus on “whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable” (Phil 4:8).
Ask: Talking negatively about others, coarse joking, sarcasm, and cursing are all part of controlling our tongues. What aspect do you struggle with most?
Pray: Controlling your tongue starts with transforming your heart and your thoughts. Ask God to help you bridle your tongue by changing you from the inside, as well as asking him to convict you on the spot when your words aren’t honoring him.