Beware of the Tongue
Proposition: Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me. This is extremely false. Words have done more damage than the biggest stick or hardest stone. Marriages have dissolved and families have been destroyed by words. Companies have failed and Churches have split because of words. We must do everything we can to prevent destruction that is caused by our speech.
Introduction: I remember when my grand mother cooked beef tongue. I thought that it would be like a stew or soup. I was expecting potatoes and carrots, but to my surprise there was this huge slimy tongue in the pot. I was afraid of that tongue, but I learned from the book of James that our tongues are more dangerous.
The Tongue Explained
James uses the tongue to represent the words that come out of our mouth. James is not warning us about he sliver of flesh in our mouth, but he is warning us about how we communicate.
The poison of our tongue is not delivered the same way snake poison is delivered. We need not bite our victims to strike with a venomous rant.
A. What we say
- Hateful speech
- Hurtful speech
- Dishonest speech
- Rumors and gossip
- Silent treatment
B. How we say it
- Yell it
- Say it smoothly
- say it in letters, emails, posts, tweets, and text messages
C. Who we say it to
- Children, Parents
- Friends, Family, Church family
- Employers, Business Partners
The Potential Danger of the Tongue
A. Fire. James compares the tongue to fire.
- Homes are destroyed by fires
- Buildings are destroyed by fire
- irreplaceable valuables are lost in fires
- Lives are lost in fires
B. World of iniquity. (Systematic order of evil actions)
The Potential Devastation of the Tongue
A. Crucial location of the tongue
- Connected to our heart
- Reveals our true character
- Can be controlled only temporarily. (the truth will come out)
B. Devastation To our life
- what we say can cause our marriage to fail
- What we say can cause us to loose our jobs
- What we say can cause us to be arrested
- What we say can cause us to be assaulted by enemies
C. Devastation to our legacy (course of nature)
- Words bruise the psyche of your children, siblings, family, or friends
- Word can alienate people from you, and affect how you are remembered
Conclusion: Fire Safety. Fires need three things to be sustained. They need a spark or source of ignition. Fires also need a fuel source, and oxygen is also needed. With out all these there things fires cannot be started or sustained.
Fire safety can be achieved by fire prevention and fire extinguishing. We should do our best to prevent most of the emotional fires set off by our tongues. When fires are set ablaze by what we say, we need to learn how to put them out as soon as possible.
- Ignition source (Identify things that spark fires)
When the fire department performs an inspection they are looking for potential sources of ignition. If they can remove obvious sources of sparks or heat from fuel sources then most fires will be prevented.
We need to take a close look at our selves. If we can identify what “sets us off” then we can pray for help to deal with these situations. Learning how to deal with and, if possible, avoid triggers can be beneficial in avoiding blow ups.
Our text tells us that hell itself is the source of the heat or spark to set off our mouths.
If the source of fuel can be cut off then a fire will not start, and if it is stated then it will burn out on its own. If we can learn to not provide fuel for fires then we can prevent fires. If we can learn to not add fuels to fires already burning then we can help fires burn out on their own.
Galatians tells us that if we walk in the spirit then we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. If we don't commune with God and his people on a regular basis then we begin to increase our fleshes fuel. We say things that are destructive. We do things that are destructive. Don't forsake the assembling together with God's people. Read the Bible, pray on regular basis, and spend time with Jesus. This can keep the source of bad fuel low.
Extinguish fires by cutting of the source of oxygen. If a fire cant breathe then it cant stay lit. fire extinguishers smother fires.
Lies can't survive in the face of the truth. Learn Gods truth.
It take two to argue, so one can only bicker and complain by himself. Don't participate in others fires, and hopefully they will smother and go out.
- With God there is healing power in the tongue