Pastor Dominic Cardamone
God has given man the unique ability to speak. It has been said that people speak an average of 15,000 to 20,000 words per day. If that is the case, there are approximately 5.5 to 7.3 million words spoken each year by one person! No matter how many words you may speak in a day, week, month, or year, each one of us will be held accountable for EVERY WORD!
Matthew 12:36, But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
In light of this truth, we would do well to properly steward our tongues. We must see to it that we use our words right.
Psalms 39:1, I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
Proverbs 21:23, Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
How then does one properly steward his or her tongue?
A. Remember that your words can be SINFUL:
Some maintain the false notion that they can say whatever they want and it’s of no consequence. However, what you say can be either right or wrong, a truth or a lie, righteous or sinful, etc. Knowing this, our desire as children of God ought to be as the psalmist said in Psalms 39:1, “I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue.” How you respond to your spouse in an argument or what you say to your children when they frustrate you can be sinful. So be careful with your words.
James 3:1-2, My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
Psalms 19:14, Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer.
B. Understand that stewarding your tongue is STRENUOUS:
Stewarding the tongue is no easy task. It’s very difficult. In fact, according to James, it is impossible on our own.
James 3:8, But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Making sure I use words rightly each day is something I cannot do in my own strength and in my own will-power, but God can help me! All I have to do is ask and He will help me guard my tongue. He can help us speak life to our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and strangers.
Psalms 141:3, Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.
C. Consider the SOURCE:
Luke 6:45, A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Your heart is the source of your words. What is in your heart will eventually come out of your mouth. If our heart is corrupt, our words will be also. But if our heart is pure, our words will follow. If we have any hope of stewarding our tongues wisely, we must look well to our hearts. Protect your heart and ultimately your speech by filtering what comes into your heart through your eyes and ears.
Proverbs 4:20-24, My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
D. Understand SILENCE is safe and wise:
Sometimes things are better left unsaid. If you have nothing good to say, it’s best to say nothing at all. In fact, it’s wise. Silence reveals wisdom and conceals ignorance instead of quickly spouting off that witty comeback.
Proverbs 10:19, In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
Proverbs 17:27-28, He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
Proverbs 29:11, A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
E. Be SLOW to speak:
If silence is not an option, then be slow to speak.
James 1:19, Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
Taking your time before you speak (especially before being reactionary in a heated situation) gives you the opportunity to consider what you are about to say and what the ramifications will be after you say it. Exercise the 10-second rule (count to 10 before giving a response), seek counsel if you need to, or ask someone to be a sounding board. These simple types of practices can help save you a world of trouble!
F. Let your words be SCARCE:
The fewer words we speak, the fewer opportunities we have to offend. This is not only good practice when speaking with men, but when speaking with God as well. Solomon taught that when we approach God it is better to let Him do more of the speaking and for us to do less.
Ecclesiastes 5:1-3, Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.
This is the way Jesus taught us to pray. He taught that prayer should be simple, sincere, not with vain repetition, not being elaborate or showy, not with much speaking, etc.
Matthew 6:5-8, And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
When speaking to God or men, choose the words you use wisely and the fewer the better.
G. Remember that your words have SWAY so let them be SOLEMN, SWEET, and STRENGTHENING:
Perhaps you have heard the old adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Your words have sway! Quite frankly, I sometimes wish I could have “sticks and stones break my bones” and endure that pain over the pain words can bring. Our words can either tear down or build up, and the effects can last a lifetime. Evil words can corrupt and wholesome words can establish. Be sincere in what you say, someone’s life could depend on it. Look for the opportunity to offer a kind compliment or encouragement. Seek to strengthen those in your daily life by what you say to them. God has given us the privilege of using our words to minister grace to others. Let’s be sure to do so.
Proverbs 18:21, Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Proverbs 12:18, There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
James 3:9-10, Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
Ephesians 4:29, Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.