Mind Your Words

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This is Meditation Moments, and I am praying God’s blessing upon you. I pray He’ll use something even from this little program to help you. Nothing can help you as much as something from God’s Word.

We’re reading from James, the third chapter. Listen carefully to these particular sentences: “In many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” And then further down in this chapter it says, “The tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.” This whole chapter goes on about the tongue, but particularly these words: “The tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:2,5,6,8).

If you want a long and useful life, and I know that most of us do, many days, God’s Word says, “Life and death are in the tongue.” That’s Proverbs 18:21, “life and death are in the tongue.” “The tongue of the wise is health,” Proverbs 12:18, and Proverbs 15:4, “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life.” So for your very health’s sake, “keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile” (Psalm 34:13). For your very life’s sake, watch your words.

A loose, unkind, or uncontrolled tongue can be a hindrance to God’s healing the body of a man or woman. Oh, how often we wound someone with our tongue, maybe unintentionally, but unkind just the same. Wounds on the heart of a loved one, so many times that’s been the case. Some of us carry scars on our bodies from wounds and cuts. They don’t bother us, but just remind us of some trivial thing that happened years ago. But how different it is with the scars that are on the heart, left there by a bitter, angry tongue! Some have never healed at all.

There’s a little poem:

If I knew that a word of mine,
A word not kind and true,
Might leave its trace on a loved one’s face,
I don’t think I’d speak it, would you?

If I knew the sting of a word
Might linger and leave its mark
With a deep dark scar on a loved one’s heart,
I don’t think I’d speak that word, would you?


George Matthew Adams writes thus also:

When I was a very small boy, I committed to memory a little poem by Mary T. Lathrop:

If we knew whose feet were standing
Close beside the narrow stream;
If we knew whose eyes were closing
In a sleep that knows no dream,
We’d be so kind and tender,
Lightly judge and gently speak.
Let us act as though we knew it,
For the links so quickly break.

Wounds in the heart are hidden deep. No one but the one who carries them around knows anything about them. Their hurts are often carried in silence, and only the eye of the Heavenly Maker ever sees them, but He sees and understands. What a pity that we should wound a heart that may already be carrying a burden of some kind that we don’t know anything about. Maybe at that moment they were yearning for a word of encouragement from you, but instead the word that you spoke wounded deeply and left an ugly scar.

There was a wound once in a gentle heart,
Whence all life’s sweetness seemed to ebb and die;
And love’s confiding changed to bitter smart,
While slow, sad years went by.
Yet as they passed, unseen, an angel stole
And laid a balm of healing on the pain,
And now you see the heart made whole,
But oh, the scars remain.

From Streams in the Desert (June 22), by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

I wonder why thoughtless, unkind words leap from our lips like they do. Is there some remedy for such a thing; is there some remedy for this? Yes, there is victory. Thank God there is.

The victory begins in a change in the heart, for words are but the outflow of the soul from which they proceed. And if that soul has a baptism of God’s Spirit, they’ll be so filled with God’s love that every word will be filled with tender compassion, for God is love.

There’s only one way to change the unruly tongue, and that is to transform the spirit that controls it. Ask God to baptize you with His Spirit, for the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a baptism of love. And you may have it, because it’s for you.

You can never control that tongue of yourself, for the Word of God tells you this, as I just read, “The tongue can no man tame” (James 3:8). But God can tame it. God is God—nothing is impossible with Him. The scripture says, “With man it’s impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

Open your heart to Him. Yield yourself completely to Him. Ask Him to come in and fill you with His Spirit. The indwelling Christ can then speak through you, and your words will be, as the apostle Paul says, “words seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6). Oh, read God’s Word faithfully and you’ll come into such an abiding relation with Him that, as Jesus said, “My Word abides in you” (John 15:7).

His Word abides in you, and then you can’t gossip and say the unkind thing and the bitter thing, and it’ll stop so much of that. You’ve heard children call to each other, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me.” Well, that isn’t true! Sticks and stones can just make light wounds, but the wounds from words are a long time healing.

There’s an admonition in God’s Word, which says, “Keep thy tongue from evil and thy lips from speaking guile” (Psalm 34:13). Jesus said, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36–37).

There’s a novel that describes a woman in this manner: “She nibbled at her salmon and other people’s reputation.” In another book, it speaks of a man’s character in this manner: “He could whisper away a character by an innocent word; he could destroy a high reputation by a shrug of the shoulders.” Oh, I wonder if it’s true of us, that God would have to deal with us about things like that?

God can’t fail His Word. The promises of God are yea and amen to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 1:20) Trust God to change you. Believe that His Word will not fail. He can come in with His Spirit and change all of this in your life, and kindness will flow through you because He possesses your tongue and your life. You’ll become a stream of blessing to all about you.

God bless you and help you in this and give you victory. He’s still on the throne. Prayer will change things.