I cannot tell you how many times I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth during a conversation. Even now I sigh and shake my head as I recount a few of the times I’ve wished mid-sentence that I could go hide in a hole somewhere. Oftentimes when I get myself in these situations I begin rambling, trying to undo what I’ve already said, which tends to make things even worse. On the flip side, there are other times that I regret not saying enough. Paralyzed with the fear of saying the wrong thing – especially in group settings – I just won’t say anything at all. Obviously it’s wise to think before we speak, but in my case I often think too hard about what I should say to try to keep myself from looking bad (As if I could ever cover up my sinful nature!), and I end up keeping my mouth shut during times I should have spoken. Can anyone relate?
The Lord has certainly tamed my speech over the years as I strive to grow into Christlikeness, but my growth is slow, and I still have such a long way to go. Just yesterday I made a snarky comment, quickly regretted it and repented of it, and then had to ask my friend for forgiveness. For those who have this same struggle, here are some verses that have been both challenging and encouraging to me when it comes to taming the tongue:
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. ~Colossians 4:6
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. ~Ephesians 4:29
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. […] A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. ~Proverbs 15:1, 4
It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. ~Matthew 15:11
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. ~Proverbs 18:21
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. ~Proverbs 12:18-19
…The tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. ~James 3:5-10a
Though I don’t deserve it, the Lord is patient and forgiving, even when my tongue is full of deadly poison. Christ’s substitutionary atonement, through His death and resurrection, brings life to my soul and joy to my heart, awakening a desire within me to strive for holiness in all areas of life, including my way-less-than-perfect speech. Thank you, God, that Your mercies are new every morning!
What are your go-to verses for taming the tongue?