“For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” James 3: 7-10
How’s your filter? Some people have no filter, like the nosy aunt who completely spills whatever is on her mind with no thought for how the other person may take it. She is no doubt honest, but prickly. Difficult to want to be around (or at least at the least to have your friends around) because you don’t know what rude things this filter-free relative may say.
Inappropriate questions like…
“Is that rash clearing up?”
“You’re not going to eat that are you?”
“Well isn’t he old enough to be potty trained?”
“So when are you going to get that degree? Get married? Have a baby?”
If you want brutally honest advice, this is your person. For a legitimate answer to the question,”Does this dress make my butt look fat, really?” ask her instead of the completely flummoxed husband. When we think of someone who is not in control of her tongue, it’s likely someone like the nosy aunt here who comes to mind. Beyond simple rudeness in the Bible James devotes chapter three of his book to the dangers of a tongue out of control.
*The tongue is used for boasting (vs. 5) and cursing (vs. 10)
*The tongue is called a “world of unrighteousness” (vs. 6) and “restless evil” (vs. 8)
In addition we know our tongues can be used for lying and all around being cruel. Does this mean that a person who has a highly developed mouth filter is more godly? One would assume so, but that is not always true.
Quiet as a Mouse. Some people (called “introverts”) are just quiet by nature. Extroverts are a more outgoing and talkative personality type. Quiet does not mean godly. A quiet person may be so quiet they do not exhibit boldness required to share their faith. Lack of verbal expression may be a hindrance. Are YOU an introvert, extrovert or ambivert? Find out here.
Filters and Fear. Some people do an excellent job of avoiding emotionally charged conversation because they struggle with fear. Such people avoid controversy because they want to maintain a conflict-free environment. They often are full of flattery and avoid unkind conversation- or anything that could make others in any way think negatively of them. They may struggle with Fear of Man and choose peace at all costs.
External Filters. A third type of people who have excellent tongue filters, but are not necessarily godly are those who have externally imposed filters. This often happens for example with people who work in ministry settings or a church environment. Such people adapt their conversation to fit socially acceptable behavior for that specific environment.
The reason the tongue is so powerful is it is the place where what is going on in the heart is on display for all to hear. But where is your power for tongue control coming from? Fear? Others expectations? The power of the Holy Spirit?
Let’s Talk About It… How is your conversation? Is it led by a godly heart and motivation or have you limited some life changing conversations simply to avoid conflict? How can you be more intentional in checking what’s really behind your filters? For more on how we use our speech you may enjoy, Sinning Out Loud or Keeping it Real.