The Tongue Seems to Have a Mind of its Own
Messiah Yeshua’s brother and the leader of the Natsari Sanhedrin of believers in the first century was a well versed and educated Jewish man, who knew full well the potentials, good and evil, regarding the tongue.
James 3:1-13 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. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 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. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? Either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
Ya’akov (James) describes the tongue as if it was a whole other entity that had a mind of its own; a creature that was prone to extremes like a person with a bi-polar disorder; sweet one minute and hellishly nasty the next and thus needed to be controlled and tamed like a wild animal.
We are made in the image of Elohim (G-d) (Gen. 1:27, 9:6) and used words; usually associated with the organ we call the tongue, to create, to give life, to speak things into existence (Gen. 1, John 1). So too we have the power to create and destroy with out tongue (our speech). As King Solomon said:
Prov. 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
One gets the impression that King Solomon was referring to the tongue as a double edged sword, one edge, like a weapon kills and the other like a surgical scalpel heals.
Job spoke of the killing capacity of the tongue.
Job 5:15 But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty.
The Psalmist describes the tongue, when used in praise is able to slay the enemy.
Psalm 149:6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand;
So we see the tongue as a deadly weapon. And with any deadly weapon one must be trained to use it properly so as not to harm oneself or the innocent. Any swordsmen trains, any hunter or police officer goes to a firing range to practice and improve ones aim and handling of the firearm; so spiritual warfare and praise takes practice.
King Solomon knew that the power of life and death, the capacity to build up and destroy another resides in the tongue (Prov. 18:21). We can bless or curse, create or destroy; it’s all in the delivery. We especially see this in our dealings with our own children.
Here is an example of using our tongue to kill: “Darn it son! You can’t do anything right! You’ll never amount to anything! How can you be so stupid?”
Here is an example of using our tongue to heal: “Whoa son, what happened buddy? You gave it a good try and I appreciate your desire to help, but let me show you another way to do it.”
See the difference? One is considered a curse, and the other is a blessing and an encouragement. We can make and break our kids and other like people like our familial or spiritual relatives, employees, co-workers or even strangers for that matter by what we say.
We have seen already how our tongue can be used as a sword to kill. Let us now see how the tongue can be used as a scalpel to heal.
Prov. 12:18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
Prov. 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
Matt. 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
When one has cancer or dead tissue that needs to be removed, or serious risk to ones health that could result in death could ensue; one goes to a surgeon who has training and skill with an extremely sharp instrument called a scalpel. The surgeon uses the scalpel to remove harmful things from the body and in such a way promotes healing and well being. This is why the tongue is referred to as double edges sword that can be used to kill or heal.
So with G-d, so with us.
Rev. 1:16 … out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Where YHWH is infinite, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent and thus has total control over His speech and actions we on the other hand are fallen and finite and thus lack total control over out speech and actions. Yes, we are made in the image and likeness of Almighty Elohim, but the tricky part is knowing when and how and having the control when needed to use our tongue as a sword or a scalpel.
If we can fully learn how to use and control our tongue we will be blessed with a good full life as the Psalmist promised.
Psalm 34:12-14 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
After the Psalmist, King Solomon said:
Prov. 21:23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
Sheliach Kefa (Apostle Peter) urged us…
I Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
In order to please HaShem and live a long and peaceful life with our fellow man it behooves us to fully realize not only the power of our tongue, but more importantly how to control and properly use it.