“If we could control our tongues, we…could also control ourselves in every other way.” Jas 3:2 NLT
The Bible has a lot to say about the dangers of the tongue. James devotes an entire chapter to this subject: “If we could control our tongues, we…could also control ourselves in every other way.” Now there is an aspect of self-control to consider! The Greek sage Publius said, “I have often regretted my speech, but never my silence.” And novelist William Edward Norris wrote, “If you your lips would keep from slips, five things observe with care; to whom you speak, of whom you speak, and how, and when, and where.” King David puts it this way: “I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle” (Ps 39:1 NASB 1995). That’s what it takes—a muzzle! David is talking about making a conscious commitment to watch what you say, and if you want to accomplish this, here are three principles you need to live by: (1) Think first. Before you speak, pause for ten seconds and mentally preview your words. Are they accurate or exaggerated? Kind or cutting? Needless or necessary? Grateful or complaining? What you don’t say today, you won’t have to explain tomorrow. (2) Talk less. Your chances of getting into trouble increase exponentially when you talk too much. That’s why compulsive talkers often find it hard to keep friends. Conserve your verbal energy. (3) Start today. Already you have read enough to help bring your tongue into submission. So put that muzzle on your mouth now—and watch how it enriches your life.