Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
We’ve all been there…with just seconds separating the two episodes, both edifying words and destructive gossip inhabit the same space—your tongue! We have all seen the destructive power of the tongue. Sadly, many of us have been the “lingual pyromaniacs” before!
We know from science and psychology that pyromania is an impulse control disorder where an individual cannot control the urge to start fires. However, I am here today to shed light on the truth that many of us have the same impulse control disorder when it comes to controlling the tongue.
Many of us are never fully aware of how our words catastrophically impact others, situations, events, etc. We simply express negative thoughts, hurtful gossip, and wrongful lies without ever thinking of the whole impact; in fact, we feel somewhat reinforced when we are able to spread information to others, even falsely. This is true sin-nature.
Just as the passage above denotes, your “tiny spark” of negativity and gossip has great potential to set an entire “forest on fire.” To be fully transparent, I was a witness to this exact phenomenon recently. I was approached by a friend who “heard some gossip” about a local leader. These defamatory words were being shared in rapid transformation between multiple parties creating a “forest fire” of lies, hate, gossip, and division! Sadly, the information presented was not even worth sharing, repeating, engaging, etc. However, the devil used just the right people at just the right time to create a fire storm in order to destroy a leader…for what…gossip!
Let’s be real…Does the instigator know that he or she created such a mess? Honestly, probably not but that’s the point! Most of us are never fully aware. I am here to tell you that the impact is always great! Do not assume that impact is proportionate with volume. Meaning, “If I share this hateful speech, negative thought, or wrongful gossip with just one other person and it ‘stops’ there, then it won’t be so bad!” —WRONG.
The damage is done when the language leaves your mouth and travels through the atmosphere awaiting the acoustic clearing into another’s mind. Satan is granted permission to use your “spark” and create a firestorm of destruction. Dear friends, do NOT be used by the evil forces surrounding us. For starters, I strongly want to encourage each of us to focus on the cross, mind our manners, and stop thinking so piously of ourselves.
You may find that you have so much to say about others because you find yourself so important. You begin to find peace and stillness in speech when you humble yourself before the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and make you keenly aware of such sin; repent and allow the Spirit to feed you correctly. If you find that you are instigating such hurtful speech, I encourage you to extinguish such behavior through prayer and worship. Use your speech to glorify the Father, which gives you less time to focus on yourself and what other’s are doing or not doing to your satisfaction. As God is faithful to forgive, I implore you to seek forgiveness from those you have hurt as well.
Question: How are you using your words lately?…[edification or destruction]