Words that we speak carry weight. I don't care who you are, when you release words into air and into the ears of others, you have just released a powerful thing. The Bible tells us that words carry tremendous power and have the power to build up or tear down. It is with our mouths that we praise God, but it is also from our mouths that we tear down those whom God has created and loves. In James 3 there is a section that speaks of this dynamic and our need to tame the tongue. In what ways to our tongues release cursing instead of blessing? I believe this dynamic of the tongue tearing down others happens more than we realize. Here are some areas that we need to work on taming the tongue:
* gossiping about others (do a word search on Biblegateway about gossip...wow!) - gossip is when we are talking about the faults, failures, problems, and deficiency of others when they are not present. Gossip tears people down, though they are not present. We usually gossip, because we are not living for things big enough to talk about...so we talk about others. It is easy to excuse gossiping away as just "speaking truthfully" about a situation, but if you dig deep, it is truly gossip. Do you gossip? Make a conscious effort to not engage in gossip. When you hear someone gossiping either change the subject or call them out, but don't agree, nod your head, or join in. I think most Christians, including myself, could stand to be reminded of this.
* words of life or cursing - did you realize that people will often live out words spoken over them in their past? When you speak words to people about who they are, what they are, and their value, you can be speaking words of blessing or cursing over them. Be aware that words will either lift others up or discourage them. What kind of words are you speaking?
* Crude or coarse joking (Ephesians 5:4)- have you ever struggled with keeping a conversation appropriate? Believe it or not, you can be good with the first two areas and struggle massively with this one. You can ruin your witness to others and even damage your relationship with God when you don't tame the tongue in this area of your life. Do you find yourself struggling with this? What do you think causes you to do it? Is it possible that insecurities lie at the heart of this issue?
Ask God today to help you with the area(s) that you struggle with the most in taming the tongue. The tongue is powerful thing. Imagine what would happen if we used our tongue to praise God and to build up and love those in which He created and loves. How much different would our daily conversations look? How much different would the world be?