There’s a small muscle in the middle of your face that can be one of your greatest assets or one of your greatest liabilities. It’s your tongue.
Technically, the tongue is made up of 8 different muscles. The average tongue is less than 4 inches long. It’s essential for eating, taste, digestion, and yes, talking!
This muscle mass, called the tongue, never gets tired. It’s an amazing organ. It’s appearance can give your doctor a lot of information about your health. And, additionally it’s the single most powerful force in making or breaking your relationships!
The Bible repeatedly warns, instructs, corrects, and informs us about the potential of the tongue for good or evil. Here’s some of the wise advice God gives us about controlling the tongue:
Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) The tongue has the power of life and death …
Proverbs 21:23 (NLT) Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.
Psalms 34:12-13 (GW) Which of you wants a full life? Who would like to live long enough to enjoy good things? Keep your tongue from saying evil things and your lips from speaking deceitful things.
James 3:5-8 (TLB) So also the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A great forest can be set on fire by one tiny spark. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness, and poisons every part of the body. And the tongue is set on fire by hell itself and can turn our whole lives into a blazing flame of destruction and disaster. Men have trained, or can train, every kind of animal or bird that lives and every kind of reptile and fish, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is always ready to pour out its deadly poison.
What can you do to avoid creating problems and pain with your words? How can you take control of your tongue for good? Here are a few suggestions:
- Talk less.
- Listen more.
- Think before you speak.
- Avoid conversation “land mines.”
- Don’t say everything you think or express everything you feel. (Just because you think or feel something doesn’t make it true or appropriate to say.)
- Redirect conversations that are heading into negative territory back toward a positive and productive track. (This includes conversations that are becoming heated, derailing into gossip, or diving into dirt.)
- Know when to politely excuse yourself from a conversation, and do so.
- Ask God to help you control your tongue, and listen to His Spirit’s direction and correction in your conversations.
- Practice speaking positive, encouraging, helpful, “life-giving” words.
Put your tongue to work for you, not against you!