Christian Living

Tame the Tongue

Be Careful What You Say

Many people today—too many—feel they have a right to say whatever they want to say, whenever they want to say it. What they forget is that this privilege also comes with a responsibility to not say some things, to at times keep quiet.

Just because we can say something, doesn’t mean we should. Sometimes silence should prevail over our speaking. We must tame the tongue.

Though this unfiltered spew of unrestrained rhetoric is most pronounced online, especially social media, it carries over from cyberspace into our physical space, tainting our in-person interactions.

This must stop.

Though the world may not know any better, Christians should.

In the Bible, we see that James agrees. He has a whole passage warning about the dangers of an uncontrolled tongue, one that both praises God and harms others with its words (James 3:1-12).

James uses the analogy of people taming animals, but no one can tame the tongue. He says it’s full of “restless evil” and “deadly poison” (James 3:7-8, NIV).

Does this mean that we have no chance of controlling our words? Of course not.

Though people may not be able to tame the tongue of others, we can—through God’s help—tame our own tongue. We can restrain what we say with Holy Spirit help.

Paul writes to the church in Ephesus telling them that when they speak truth in love it will help them grow into maturity (Ephesians 4:15). This is an ideal place to start. We say what is true, but we do so in love.

In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul lists the characteristics of love. Love is patient and kind. It’s not envious, boastful, or proud. It doesn’t dishonor other people, isn’t selfish, and doesn’t yield to anger. It doesn’t remember the wrongs of others.

It mourns evil and celebrates truth. Love always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Tame the Tongue

May these traits of love guide our speech, knowing that in some cases the best thing to say is nothing. In this way, we can tame the tongue.

The tongue is a dangerous tool that we must control.

We have a responsibility to God and to others to be careful what we say. Sometimes saying nothing is the best solution.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Bogged Down Reading the Bible?

10 Essential Bible Reading Tips, from Peter DeHaan

Get the Bible Reading Tip Sheet: “10 Tips to Turn Bible Reading from Drudgery to Delight.”

​Enter your info and receive the free Bible Reading Tip Sheet and be added to Peter’s email list.