"If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless"
(James 1:26 NIV).
James wrote about what damage the tongue can do. "The tongue also is fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell" (James 3:6 NIV). James does not mince words. When was the last time you were a victim of words spoken in haste that hurt you in some way? As Christians we must think before we speak because those who are outside of the Lord will condemn us if we say hurtful things about others. Filtering our thoughts through the Holy Spirit will help us speak words that will build others up instead of bringing them down. "we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5 NIV).
If you are ever tempted to say anything about anyone behind his/her back that would hurt his/her feelings, stop and say to yourself, "If this person was sitting next to me, would I be saying this?" This includes what you write to others on email and texting. Words are powerful. They can end careers, bring tears to eyes, and destroy lives. They can also change lives for the better, give hope, encouragement, and praise.
What kind of words have you been speaking lately? It is time to reflect on this. People judge you by your words. Are you careful in your speech? Have you said words about others that would make them sad if they heard them? It is time for you to pray and ask God to help you to control your speech so that the words you speak are ones of encouragement, peace, and love. Be an encourager this week in your speech and think before you say something that might hurt others.
I ask you to help me to pray before I speak so that I won't hurt other people's feelings in any way. I know that my words should be like those of Christ; full of grace, truth, peace, and love. Help me to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. Let my words bring joy to those around me, instead of sadness.
In Jesus' name,
My husband and I have been in the ministry in one form or another for 37 years. I have had several poems published in the local newspaper. I write devotionals for my co-workers and friends. I own this article and have full rights.