The Battle to Tame the Tongue

But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

James 3:8-13


I’m a bit of a useless knowledge junkie (just ask Mr. Incredible!). I gather it like a bird gathers bits of grass and fluff for its nest. I know things that cannot possibly be of any use to me or anyone around me unless we’re playing a game of Trivial Pursuit. I can’t remember my sister’s phone number but I can remember…well never mind; suffice it to say I remember a lot of stuff that others find useless.

So anyway, the other day I saw yet another list on Pintrest of little known facts about the human body and of course I took the time to stop and read the whole thing. One fact, in particular, caught my eye; Did you know that the tongue never sits comfortably in the mouth? Yeah, me neither. Didn’t know that but, then again, I sort of did. My tongue is so uncomfortable in my mouth it constantly falls out, bringing forth words with it that would have been better off still in my head!!

Oh, the tongue! God doesn’t make mistakes but it takes all my faith in Him not to question the inclusion of the tongue when He created man. Think how much trouble would have been avoided if only that small part of our body had been omitted, or, at least, had a kill switch connected to that part of our brain that says “No, no, no, DON’T. SAY. IT!”

In the last 10 years or so, with God’s help, I’ve done a lot of work on myself. I’ve worked around the mountains of selfishness, jealousy, envy, strife, bitterness, judgement. I’ve altered my internal dialogue about myself to better reflect what God says about me. I’ve grown better at showing mercy and grace to others. I’m learning to give and love sacrificially. But, Lord help me, that little bit of muscle and tissue inside my mouth WILL get away from me on a regular basis!

The Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:15

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

I can walk around the house telling myself, out loud, to keep my trap shut. I can remind myself that nothing good is going to come from releasing the words inside my mouth. I KNOW the right thing to do and I KNOW that what I’m about it say is the wrong thing but it’s like that tongue has a mind of it’s own and it says to itself “Oh, what the heck. Let it fly!” and so it does, only to poop all over my day like a bird on laxatives.

I want to be one of those people for whom words are doled out only on an “as needed” basis. None wasted, none misused. Mr. Incredible is like that. My sister says of him, “He doesn’t waste his influence” which is so true! He doesn’t talk a lot but when he does, people listen! And he NEVER has to apologize for things he’s said to others. He NEVER breaks a confidence. The control he has over his tongue is amazing! I want to be like that!

Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

~ Ephesians 4:29


God’s word also says that, like the rudder of a great ship, though it is small it turns the whole ship, likewise the tongue can turn the man. Oh how true this is! My tongue can ruin my day or make my day. It can wound or it can heal. It can encourage or it can discourage. What a noble and worthy pursuit it is for us to learn to tame it and break it’s will.

Let’s take a few days and explore this unruly member of the body and what else God’s word has to say about it. What have you done to help tame your tongue?

Soli Deo Gloria



5 thoughts on “The Battle to Tame the Tongue

  1. […] Click here to read another writers thoughts on the battle to tame the tongue. […]

  2. This article is so true and a great reminder to stay diligent in giving God control of our tongue. This leaves us something to meditate and keep in our heart and practice daily. Have a blessed weekend Shay! .

  3. Taming the tongue is certainly a minute by minute choice and some days I am more successful than others. You provided a lot to reflect on and each day I pray that my words and actions honor God. Visiting you form Barbie’s place. Blessings, Mary!

    • shaybarnett says:

      Mary, you are so right! And you hit it right on head when you said the word “pray”. Its the only way to truly effect change in that unruly member! Blessings! Shay

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