Last week I heard of another person making a foolish remark on Twitter…again. This happens every day on social media sites. Yet I ponder the foolish, hurtful remarks communicated face to face daily. People feel more and more entitled to say what they want to say no matter how it comes out or who it hurts. Ouch!
Self-control seems so hard, but especially self-control of the tongue. James, a New Testament writer and brother of Jesus wrote:
“For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way…a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire… no one can tame the tongue…Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!” James 3:2-10
Thankfully, Jesus gives us the power through his Holy Spirit to live self-controlled lives, even control of the tongue. “The fruit of the Spirit is…self-control…” Ephesians 5:22-23. “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Even self-control of what we say or what we communicate through our written words to others. As we abide with Christ and learn from Him, we can instead use our words for good.
Self-control keeps us from speaking evil. We have the power from Jesus to speak truth instead of lies, hope instead of discouragement, love instead of hate, peace instead of fear. Jesus changes our words and the world is amazed!
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation [Jesus Christ] for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,” Titus 2: 11-12
As I abide with Jesus I will trust in Him to produce self-control over my tongue and to use it to share words – spoken and written – for His good and the good of others. Speaking His praises and His truth to others always brings a joyful heart – a reward from practicing self-control.
“Cold words freeze people, and hot words scorch them, and bitter words make them bitter, and wrathful words make them wrathful. Kind words also produce their image on men’s souls; and a beautiful image it is. They smooth, and quiet, and comfort the hearer.” Blaise Pascal