There are so many ways one can misuse the tongue. Cursing, tale bearing, gossip, boasting and lying are just a few ways that words can be misused. Cursing in our day seems to have become a way of life for so many. It is as if some people could not talk unless they used a curse word in their speech.
The kids of today are growing up in a world where God’s name is taken in vain, where television shows use curse words continually and where lying is considered to be OK.
Every person should be careful of how they speak. Some people claim to be religious, but their speech betrays them.
James wrote, “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh” (James 3:9-12).
Jesus taught it is not possible to serve two masters (Mat.6:24). Satan would have a person use all kind of vulgar language, but one who seeks to please God realizes that cursing should not be part of their character.
Gossip and tale-bearing are also ways in which words are misused. The Psalmist wrote concerning this, “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor” (Psalm 15:1-3).
Even if a thing is true, it should not become a subject of gossip. Many a friendship has been destroyed by gossip, and lives have been scarred because of things said that should have been kept quiet.
People who have a habit of using foul language are more prone to use such language when they are angry. There is an old song entitled “Angry Words.” The lyrics tell of how we should never let angry words escape from our lips, but that the best impulse of our heart might check those words lest they spoil the lips.
Another verse states how brightest links of life may be broken by a single angry word.
How many times have husbands or wives said things in a moment of anger and wished so much to be able to recall those words but it is too late. Parents have been guilty of the same thing, concerning their children. “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” (James 3:5). The tongue can ignite a spark that rages uncontrolled into an inferno.
The tongue can be misused, but it can be used for good. In II Kings 5 there is a wonderful example of how just a few words were able to help show God to a nation of people. It is the account of Naaman a captain in the army of Syria, who was a sufferer of leprosy.
His wife’s little maid spoke just a few words concerning the prophet of God. After doing as the prophet had told him Naaman made the statement, “…Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel:…” (II Kings 5:15).
How many do we speak to about God each day? The world needs to hear more words spoken from God’s word — words that can bring eternal life.