“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”
– Colossians 4:6
Words are essential to life. They are how we communicate and get to know one another. They are how we express our feelings. But most importantly, they are powerful and very influential. There are two different ways we can influence others with our words. They can either be used to encourage and build others up, or they can be used in ways that cause destruction and pain. God makes it very obvious in His Word that our words should influence others in an encouraging way. But, although we have become new creations through Christ, our old fleshly desires are still there warring against the Spirit. The tongue is something our flesh and Spirit war over frequently. To be able to follow God’s Word, we need to know how to win the war of taming the tongue. Here are a few steps we need to understand to be able to do it.
1. We cannot win this war without God’s help. James 3:8 says, “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” Notice how James makes it very clear that no man can tame the tongue. But, while it is impossible for man, it is definitely not impossible with God. If you try to tame the tongue alone, you will only end up discouraged and with no progress. Instead, we need to pray and ask God to be the ruler of what we say. A good verse to pray and memorize is Psalms 141:3 which says, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
2– It is important for us to understand the power the tongue can have towards either good or evil. As I mentioned earlier, words have power. There is an old saying that goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That couldn’t be more of a lie. Words have the ability to cause pain and destruction the same way sticks and stones do. But they also have the ability to do good. This is where each time we open our mouth to speak, we must make the decision to use the power of our words, either towards something good, or evil. James 1:19 says, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Think before you speak. Evaluate what you are about to say and ask yourself if it is going to influence those hearing the words in a good or bad way.
3- We need to realize that there is a time to speak and a time to be quiet. Learning to have the courage to speak up for what is right is extremely important. But it is just as important to have the courage to be silent. When we become angry, it is much easier for us to let our guard down and lash out at others with words full of bitterness and hate. Many times I have spoken unkind words to my siblings out of anger that I later regret. It is extremely hard to be silent in certain situations. But is it truly more important for us to get the last words in and tell that person what we think than it is to be silent and prevent pain and regret?
Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your grace always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” By speaking words filled with love and grace, we will be using words the way God intended us to use them. So let’s learn to give God authority over what we say and to use the power of our words for good. Let’s learn to understand that it’s better to stay silent than to say something we will later regret. Let’s learn to tame the tongue.