The tongue is such a tiny part of our bodies, yet it is so powerful. It expresses the ideas of our minds, and the feelings of our hearts. Our tongues reveal us to the world every bit as much as our actions, yet people can see right through the hollow words that we don’t follow through on.

All over the news this week, talk radio, and blogs the comments Imus made about the Rutgers womens basketball team have caused quite a stir. Where Imus and so many others have failed this week is that their tongues are like roadside bombs – you never know when one will go off. Now we shouldn’t expect Imus or any others who are not trying to walk in the footsteps of Jesus to have any real success in keeping their tongues in check. The motivation for people to say or not to say racist or sexist comments often comes down to reward or punishment in a very temporal sense. God’s standard is higher. As James 4:11-12 states:
“Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?

To speak evil of someone is defined as saying something that doesn’t have the other person’s best interest at heart. It does not mean that we never confront or tell the truth to someone who has wronged us, but we must be careful of our motivation and our method and avoid gossip. The law that the Apostle James is referring to here is the law of love – love for God and love for neighbor. If I am in the act of loving someone, I will not intentionally hurt them with my words. When I do fail in this regard, I am basically saying that God’s law of love does not apply to me, that I have given myself an exemption, and that I am equal to or above God.

Instead of using or tongues to speak evil and destroy, today we have the opportunity to speak encouragment and build up.

For more of what the Bible says about the tongue read James chapter 3.