The Use of the Tongue

Lately I’ve been spending some time in the Proverbs. Anyone who has ever read the proverbs has probably notice that there is a quite a bit said about the tongue. What we say is a big deal. So big, in fact, that Jesus once said, “By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37). This is because our words reveal what is in our hearts. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).

Since this topic of the tongue keeps popping up in proverbs, it’s been on my mind. And I’ve noticed myself saying some things that I probably shouldn’t have said. I may have thought I didn’t really struggle much in this area, but after looking again into the mirror of the word, I’m seeing that I need to be a little more cautious here. It’s just like the Lord to humble me and guide my feet in the right direction.

I’ve noticed that the Bible speaks of two sides of the issue: How we shouldn’t use our tongue, and how we should use our tongue. I think we all can pretty easily pull up a list of ways we shouldn’t use our tongues. For some reason that side seems to be talked about more. But I just wanted to quickly share a couple of verses about how we should use the tongues:

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that is may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

So we see that we should use our tongues to build up others, and to give grace.

The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.

I liked this verse, because of the picture of feeding others with what we say. It seems to imply an intentionality. I think of a mother bird, finding and digesting worms to feed to her little ones though her beak. In the same way, we would do well to prepare ourselves to feed others with our words.

– Laura Anne


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