Pastor’s Corner: “No Small Matter”
Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) – 21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
I think that many medical textbooks are wrong because they have left out a vital organ. Look through the books all you want, and you’ll find not one mention of the most obvious vital organ of all: the tongue. Just like these textbooks, we choose to ignore the importance of the tongue. I think we would rather not believe it has “the power of life and death” because that is quite convicting. We pretend our tongue is more like an appendix or a gall bladder – easy to forget about because it’s not that important – but that’s just not the case.
Snapping at loved ones when we’re tired or nagging and complaining all release a poison from our tongues that work its way through our whole being. Not only that, we infect others with our attitudes and motivations. We end up spreading a disease with damaging and long term effects that are much worse than COVID! This is not being overly dramatic. The Bible says: James 3:5-6 (TLB) – 5 So also the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A great forest can be set on fire by one tiny spark. 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness, and poisons every part of the body. And the tongue is set on fire by hell itself and can turn our whole lives into a blazing flame of destruction and disaster. Do we think God is being overly dramatic?
Contrast that with the “words of the wise,” as Proverbs says many times. Their words heal and strengthen as they spread encouragement, wisdom, peace, and the Gospel message. More importantly the wise actually use their tongues less than other people (that hits a little close to home). The more powerful the tongue, the less it needs to be used. It’s like the heart of a well-trained athlete – when someone is really in shape, the beats per minute actually decrease as the heart becomes more and more efficient. In the same way, why don’t we condition our tongue to speak fewer words with more meaning?
So, how does God want us to use this power? What does he expect from us and the way we speak to people and into different situations? Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) – 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. God wants us to speak so that whoever hears our words will be uplifted and given grace. He wants us to harness the power of words to bring life, to soothe and heal, and to create.
Why is all of this important? Jesus says in Matthew 15:11 (NLT) – 11 It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” & Matthew 12:35 (NKJV) 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. If we watch what we’re saying, even what we’re mumbling under our breath, writing in a journal, or whatever, we are given insight into what’s in our heart. What comes out of our mouths reveal a lot about our hearts.
If we find that we are speaking more death than life, that’s because there’s death in our heart. If we find we are speaking destruction rather than creation, we have destruction in our hearts. If this is where you are, you need to take it to the Lord and get help. Only God can do the work inside of us to root out the negative things in our heart. He has to change our heart. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
Remember, that little organ that the medical journals and all of us have dismissed called the tongue holds the power of life and death. That’s no small matter. So let’s be careful how we exercise it.
In His Grace,