James ch 3 says that we all sin in many ways, but we seem especially culpable to sin with our tongue. As James 3:6, “the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness”. That is quite a statement! And we understand why!
Sometimes we try to say the right thing, but we say it in a wrong way, and we set a whole forest ablaze with that comment. Other times we think we are saying things the right way, but on second thought realise we said something completely false or irrelevant. Other times we simply say the wrong thing in the wrong way and we reap the consequences of our overly sharpened tongue. It is rare indeed to find a person who knows when to speak, what to say, and how to say it.
But, we as Christians are not left without some instruction on the tongue. Almost every chapter in the book of Wisdom, the book of Proverbs, contains at least one, if not numerous, wise saying regarding what we say and how we say it. Biblical instruction about our speech is comprehensive in that it deals very extensively with both the content of our speech and the manner in which we speak that content.
Gode created words to be used right in content and right in manner.
Getting the content right, but the manner wrong, or the manner right but the content wrong, is not half-right – it is still completely wrong, both must be right and godly for your speech to honour God’s design for words.
For your meditation today, consider these two verses, and may the Lord sanctify our speech and make it more pleasant.
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.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.