Scripture speaks of the power of the tongue and the damage or the healing that it can do.
In a time when we can’t turn around without hearing about people in authority lying or being told that what we have heard has been falsely made up news or in a time where a recent study by Barna Research found that only 22% of adults in America believe there is even such a thing as absolute moral truth, it isn’t hard to see why non-Christians look at Christians with skepticism.
In this passage, it might seem a little anticlimactic after Jesus talking about murder and adultery in the previous passage however it shows us another heart issue about how easy words roll off our tongue without thinking. Scripture speaks of the power of the tongue and the damage or the healing that it can do.
Proverbs 21:23 ESV Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keep himself out of trouble.
Ephesians 4:29 ESV Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Proverbs 15:1 ESV A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
James 3:2-10 ESV For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. …
Proverbs 12:18 ESV There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Psalm 141:3 ESV Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
Psalm 34:13 ESV Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
James 1:26 ESV If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
Proverbs 17:28 ESV Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
1 Peter 3:10 ESV For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;
Proverbs 18:21 ESV Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Proverbs 15:4 ESV A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
I have a good friend whom in the past I would get frustrated with because I would ask him a question or ask him if he could do something and it took him a while to answer or not answer at all for a while, however over the years I came to greatly appreciate the reason for his delay. He told me that he wanted to make sure he was not giving a quick answer that he couldn’t uphold or giving an answer just to answer but that he was giving a response that he could stand by.
God’s people should not have to swear to the truth of their words. They should be trustworthy so that their statements are believed without question. Words are important and we should never say one thing and mean another, remembering that our actions speak volumes.