God Is Kind and Desires Kindness
"But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." (James 3:8)
Sometimes, we say things we wish we hadn’t said. It may be to a friend, or mother, father, sister, brother – or maybe even to someone we don’t even know.
There is an old saying that goes like this: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” This isn’t true! Physically, sticks and stones can hurt you if someone throws them at you. You will probably recover from the injury. But when someone says something that hurts your feelings, an emotional recovery isn’t always as easy as a physical recovery. You may be able to forgive someone who has been unkind to you, and this is what God wants you to do – but forgetting is almost impossible to do. No matter how old you get, there will be times when you will remember how you felt when someone hurt you by unkind words or actions.
We are taught in James 3 that our “tongues” can harm others. Sometimes you may want to say something against another person because you are angry and you “want to get even.” What should you say when you are feeling unkind toward someone? Probably nothing!
Years ago a man named Ollie lived in a country village. He said something hurtful about a friend of his because he had made him angry. The gossip spread throughout the neighborhoods, and it wasn’t long before Ollie's friend became the talk of the town. Ollie apologized to his friend, but he did something more – something that is hard for us to believe: Ollie never talked again!
From that day on, Ollie kept a small pad of paper and pencil that he kept with him at all times. When he wanted to say something, he wrote it down. Did he speak when he was at home? No one knows. No one ever heard Ollie say a word to anyone again in public.
It is probably not necessary to do something as drastic and extreme as not talking at all. But it shows us how seriously Ollie considered his sin, and how seriously he was learning to consider his friends. He did not want to harm anyone else the same way he had harmed his friend. To him, if never speaking again meant he would never hurt his friend with unkind words again, it was worth it to Ollie.
Another common saying goes like this: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." If you are having a hard time controlling your tongue and being kind in your words, you might try humbling yourself and shutting your mouth. It is humbling to admit that "the tongue can no man tame" and that your tongue is just as difficult to control as anyone else's. Admit that you have to keep a close guard over your mouth – maybe just be quiet – and pray for the Lord to help you. Jesus Christ was 100% man and yet 100% God. He is the only Man Who ever lived perfectly, and He is strong enough to help you be kind with your words.
God expects and enables us to speak kind words.
» Do I have trouble controlling my tongue?
» How important is it to me to make sure I speak kindly about other people?
» Am I relying on God to help me be as kind as He commands me to be?
Truth In Real Life