I’d never expected my pocketknife to be a weapon. I bought it for useful things like cutting cardboard, tightening screws, and opening bottles. But its sharp edge had the potential for great harm.
Did you know words can be a weapon too? The Bible warns “How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness… Every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed… but no human being can tame the tongue” (James 3:5-6).
Watch out. Your tongue is a weapon of mass destruction. It could spark a fire that will do irreversible damage.
So let me ask you, how’s your language? Do you ever boast or blaspheme? How about complain or gossip? Do you ever lie or use a harsh tone of voice? All these are sins of the tongue.
Jesus says our words reveal what’s in our heart, and that God is listening all the time. A divine tape recorder is running day and night, being stored up as evidence when we stand before God in judgment. “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:36-37).
For some of us, that’s a frightening prospect. But it doesn’t have to be. God has the power to cleanse our hearts and transform our foul mouths into voices of praise. David prayed, “Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise” (Psalm 51:14-15).
Once our hearts are washed clean, our tongues can fulfill the purpose for which they were created. To sing. To pray. To bless and build up others.
Your words don’t have to be a weapon. When God gets a hold of your life, that tongue can become a useful tool for good.
This article first appeared in The Minister’s Message page of our local newspaper, The Hi Desert Star.
Photo credit: djwtwo