The tongue is an important part of the mouth. It helps us swallow food, it helps us to speak and sometimes, it tells us of diseases that we didn’t know we had. The tongue helps us in the physical act of drinking fluids. The tongue tells the brain about the flavor and the temperature of food and drink through the nervous system.
We also use our tongues as a means of expression. Miley Cyrus uses her tongue to twerk, which, in my opinion, is not at all attractive. Gene Simmons of the rock group Kiss used to pose for photos with his long tongue sticking out of his mouth. We stick our tongue out at others to express our disdain, and this is known as giving someone “the raspberry.”
My husband and I are attending a weekly study on a book titled “How to Resolve 7 Deadly Stresses.” Last week’s chapter was about what we say and how it affects ourselves and others. I thought I would do a study on the tongue and how we should speak. Let’s look at some of the verses in the Bible that talk about the tongue.
Luke 6:45 reads: "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Matthew 15:19 says: "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." The tongue appears to have a mind of its own, doesn’t it? Bus as these Scriptures state, the heart is the brain of the tongue when it comes to speaking instead of the actual brain itself. So what’s in your heart? Is it full of love for Jesus and for others? Or is it full of hate, prejudice, and anger? Is your heart full or sorrow or full of joy? Proverbs 15:4 states: "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit."
Psalm 64:3 states, "Who [the wicked - vs. 2] sharpen their tongue like a sword, And bend their bows to shoot their arrows—bitter words." You can wound a person with your tongue, if not more, than with a knife or a sword. Physical wounds will heal eventually, but the psychological wounds left by a piercing tongue can last for decades. The phrases “You’re ugly,” “You’re fat,” “You’re stupid,” and other ugly names people call us can simmer in our hearts for a long time and we actually believe that we are what other people say we are, because if they say it, it must be true. I know it is, because I have gone through this myself. I was teased mercilessly as a child. The only way I broke the hold those negative phrases had on me was when I asked Jesus to come into my life and He made me a new creation. It took a while, but eventually, all those negative thoughts went away as I grew in my faith and learned to trust in Christ.
In his epistle, James has a lot to say about the tongue. In James 3:5-10, he says: "Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so." If we truly love God, we should love the people He created, in His own image no less. If we love people. we will not curse them or say bad things about them. To love God but curse men is a real contradiction.
Sometimes we speak without thinking, otherwise known as not engaging your brain (or your heart, as mentioned above) before engaging your tongue. This can get you into a lot of trouble, and possibly cause you to sin as well. Leviticus 5:4 states: "Or if a person swears, speaking thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good, whatever it is that a man may pronounce by an oath, and he is unaware of it—when he realizes it, then he shall be guilty in any of these matters."